The sixth Katara Traditional Dhow Festival concluded at the Katara Beach, with the winners of various contests being awarded on the occasion.
It was also announced that Mombasa, Kenya, would be the next destination for the Fath Al Khair voyage.
The dhow festival, organised annually by Katara - the Cultural Village Foundation, focuses on the revival of the maritime heritage of Qatar and other GCC countries and seeks to raise awareness of the traditional maritime environment along with its diverse activities.
Attracting a large public turnout, the 2016 festival welcomed more than 230 participants from Qatar, GCC and India, as well as over 100 dhows of different types and shapes, according to a press statement from Katara.
The sixth edition of the dhow festival ended with Al Gaffal, a traditional sailing race designed to honour pearl divers as they end their risky sea journey and return home. It also witnessed “loads of action and excitement”, including maritime tournaments such as rowing, diving, Al Ghazl, Al Haddaq and Al Lufah, two new contests - bringing down the dhow loader and Al Nahmah, and competitions to select the best paintings and best photographs.
Before honouring the different contest winners, Katara general manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti announced Mombasa in Kenya as the destination of the third edition of the Fath Al Khair voyage.
“From its first journey to all the ports of the Gulf, following the old trade and pearl diving routes, to its second journey that led the epic ship to India, we now announce that Mombasa, once a renowned hub of the gold, ivory and spices trade linking India with China, will be the destination of the Fath Al Khair 3 voyage,” he said. “The journey is aimed at celebrating one of the most important cities on the eastern shores of Africa - a city that stands as a symbol of interaction among the Arab and Swahili cultures.”
He also stressed the significance of this year’s dhow festival.
Meanwhile, the first prize in the Al Haddaq competition was won by Abdullah bin Mohamed al-Kwari, with the second prize going to Mohamed Salem al-Oraim and the third to Nasser Essa.
Saudi team Farsan ranked first in the pearl diving competition, followed by Omani team Sour and Bahrain’s Fath Al Kheir team.
This first position in Al Nahmah was bagged by Qatari national Ali bin Said al-Merri, followed by Ahmad Khalid Yousef from Bahrain and Ali Nasser al-Hadad from Qatar.
The general manager also honoured representatives from Qatar Museums Authority and General Authority of Customs. Snapchat influencers were also honoured at the closing ceremony.
The festival hosted several cultural, sporting, traditional and environment-related tournaments, including pearl diving, free diving, rowing and best sailing dhows, in a bid to provide younger Qataris, residents and visitors with a glimpse into Qatar and GCC’s old-school life, filled with dhows, pearl divers and fishermen, the statement noted.
The festival also featured stalls selling traditional handicrafts designed by some of the region’s best artisans. In addition to pearls, craftsmen such as basket weavers and jewellery makers also had interesting goods on display. Bands of folkloric dancers and singers performed old songs set to the rhythm of beating drums.
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