A diverse range of cultural presentations and the unveiling of Tamim Al Majd image on a large mainsail marked the opening of the seventh Katara Traditional Dhow Festival on Tuesday. The five-day event is aimed at reviving the maritime heritage.
The event was graced by Katara – the Cultural Village general manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, prominent Qatari businessman HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, HE the Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, HE the Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, diplomats and other dignitaries.
The festival, held under the patronage of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the Katara beach until Saturday, has the participation of Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Iraq, Turkey, India, Greece, and Zanzibar in this “one-of-a-kind edition.”
Tamim Al Majd image is seen on a mainsail as artistes perform.
Dhows greet visitors at the opening of the festival on Tuesday.
Some 85 Qatari traditional dhows, including one from India displayed for sale, are docked and decorated with Qatari flags and Tamim Al Majd images on their mainsail at the Katara beach to welcome residents and visitors.
Small boats sailing along the Katara beach also served as an attraction to many festival-goers, particularly families and children.
“Katara’s Traditional Dhow Festival has reached an important and prestigious stage on the local, regional and international levels with its diversified activities,” Katara general manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti said in a statement.
“This event highlights the details of the rich GCC maritime heritage held with an aim to connect present generations with the legacy of Qatar’s past ancestors’ traditions,” he stressed.
The festival features 32 maritime handicrafts from Oman, five from Kuwait, and 10 from Qatar, according to Katara.
Participating countries, in partnership with seafood restaurants, will highlight their rich culture and traditions by providing festival-goers with authentic maritime offerings such as an array of cuisines and traditional performances.
These include food kiosks set up by Turkey, Greece and Iraq while the “Iraqi corner” features cultural shows by a traditional ensemble.
The festival also holds daily competitions such as the traditional dhow race (3.30pm) and the pearl-diving contest, one of the festival highlights, which starts on Wednesday at 4pm.
Some of the events such as the Haddaq Al Seif, which takes place between 3pm and 5pm; ‘Preparing the Dhow and Dhow Lifting’ at 4pm; and Al Ghazl from 3.30pm to 10pm will run until the last day of the festival.
Other traditional activities are also expected to attract a large number of spectators, including the dhow exhibition, traditional performances and crafts, fish market, dhow cruises, traditional café, and Operetta (Abshero bl E’zz).
The event also serves as a platform for visual artists to showcase their works, providing an area for them to draw and paint.
Katara also organised a number of workshops for children and students like the Al Saliyah, a “throwing nets show” at the seashore.
Apart from miniature dhows, several stalls at the beach area are also selling Arabic and other local cuisines to visitors.