Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) hosted yesterday a number of dignitaries at the opening ceremony of Freej Aspire, which opens to the public today.
Freej Aspire, a 10-day event, will run until June 19. The opening ceremony, however, gathered special guests led by AZF president Hilal al-Kuwari, acting CEO Mohamed al-Suwaidi, and director general Abdullah al-Naimi.
Al-Naimi told Gulf Times the second instalment of Freej Aspire aims to replicate last year’s success in promoting the spirit of Ramadan and reviving Qatari traditions and culture in a fun way through live entertainment, food, and shopping, among others.
“Freej Aspire does not only focus on sports but includes activities related to the Qatari heritage and religious practices,” al-Naimi said, adding that the first edition of Freej Aspire attracted more than 20,000 visitors.
“This year, we have added some innovations to the games and entertainment activities for the children, which is why we are expecting a huge turnout of visitors compared to last year, said al-Naimi, who noted that AZF has tripled the size of Freej Aspire’s children’s area inside the 8,000sqm, air-conditioned facility, which is capable of hosting 3,000 visitors per day.
Freej Aspire, according to al-Naimi, is part of Aspire Zone’s “Ramadan Festival,” a unique combination of spiritual, sporting, and social activities in celebration and observance of the holy month.
Citing advancements in technology and the proliferation of electronic gadgets like smartphones, tablets, and video games, al-Naimi stressed that activities at Freej Aspire will help revive traditions, especially old Qatari children’s games.
“I have known these age-old children’s games because I have played them myself as a child. But even adults may forget because of today’s advancements in technology, which is why for many adults and kids, our activities are here to not only remind Qataris but to revive these traditions and to promote our culture to non-Qataris,” he emphasised.
According to al-Naimi, Freej Aspire is also “a great opportunity” for expatriates, especially children, to meet new friends and to learn about the Qatari culture.
“I believe expatriates should learn about our culture so they could understand the traditions that have been handed over to us by the elder generation. It is also an opportunity for them learn about the ways of Ramadan and how to celebrate or observe this holy month,” he explained, adding that “sharing Qatari culture and tradition is part of Aspire’s social responsibility.”
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