Al Ain, UAE – : Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Ain, Sheikh Hazza bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Under-Secretary of the Court of the Abu Dhabi Ruler’s Representative in Al Ain Region inaugurated the sixth edition of the Traditional Handicrafts Festival. Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the event takes place until 16 November at Souq Al Qattara in Al Ain.
The opening ceremony was attended by HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, and HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
Under this year’s theme of ‘Crafts of the Ancestors, Pride of the People’, the Traditional Handicrafts Festival aims to educate visitors about the significance of traditional crafts and industries and to promote handicrafts and other components of Emirati heritage.
In addition to the general promotion of traditional crafts and practices, the festival works closely with artisans and families who work in the industry, providing support and helping them to adapt to the demands of the modern consumer market. With 120 families taking part, the festival aims to increase their income through marketing efforts, while encouraging them to innovate with their products and business models.
Featuring a unique programme of traditional cultural activities and workshops introducing the public to these art forms and practices, the festival will see the participation of traditional crafts professionals from across the UAE, educational institutions, and government and civil organisations involved in heritage protection.
HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “The Traditional Handicrafts Festival plays an important role in contributing to DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision to preserve and promote Emirati heritage. The festival highlights our efforts to both conserve and revitalise our heritage practices, ensuring that they reach the widest possible audiences and remain relevant to our modern lives.
“Our efforts include documenting and developing these industries, and providing much needed to support to the artists and artisans who continue these invaluable heritage practices. This will safeguard the legacy passed down from our ancestors who made a living through these professions, saving our heritage and history for future generations to learn and take pride from.”
The festival is set to feature a wide variety of traditional arts and crafts demonstrations, performances, educational workshops, and cultural activities. Demonstrations and workshops include Al Khos (palm frond braiding), Al Sadu (weaving), Al Talli (embroidery), Al Fakhaar (pottery), and Al Ghazl (spinning), as well as woodworking, leatherworking, ornament and jewellery making, and tailoring. For younger audiences, the programme offers workshops such as falconry, painting and colouring. Traditional performances of dance and poetry include Al Razfa, Al Rababa, Al Azi, Al Taghrooda, Al Shilla, and Al Yola, in addition to traditional games.
The event will also feature a series of competitions in Al Taghrooda (poetry) and the preparation of Gahwa (Arabic coffee) and traditional dishes, in addition to photography and Al Yola dance competitions for children. Shoppers will love the Traditional Market, showcasing handicrafts, foods and desserts, clothing, decorations, medicinal herbs, falconry tools, and more. Visitors will experience the famed Arabian hospitality, with complimentary Arabic coffee, dates and sweets on offer each day.
The festival will be open to the public at Souq Al Qattara daily through 16 November, 9am – 10pm.