Qatari sailors taking part in the 3rd Fath al-Kheir voyage were given a warm send-off on Friday by their families and children as well as Qatari officials and other dignitaries at Katara – the Cultural Village.
HE Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani, adviser at the Emiri Diwan HE Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kuwari, HE the Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, and Katara general manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti were among those who personally bid farewell to the sailors led by Captain Mohamed Youssef al-Sada and Abdullah al-Tamimi.
The sail of the dhow, which is undertaking the Fath al-Kheir voyage features a huge ‘Tamim Al Majd’ image. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar
At the ceremony titled “Dasha,” a group of cultural performers also cheered the sailors with traditional songs and dances while being transported to the dhow.
Hoisting of the dhow’s sail, featuring a huge Tamim Al Majd image, signalled their departure, which was witnessed by a large number of residents and visitors, as well as maritime enthusiasts, at the Katara beach.
The sea voyage will head to Kuwait and Oman before returning to Qatar on December 18 in time for the National Day celebration.
The 16 sailors, selected out of more than 35 aspirants, are using one of the biggest traditional dhows in the country, which was first used in 2013 as a highlight of Katara’s Traditional Dhow Festival, a major annual event in the country.
Last year, Katara celebrated the arrival of Fath al-Kheir 2 in Mumbai, docked in front of the Gateway of India with a 30-member crew comprising experienced sailors, dhow repairers, cooks and technicians.
Meanwhile, the dhow festival, which concludes on Saturday, continues to attract thousands of visitors who had the opportunity to experience Qatar’s rich maritime heritage.
This year’s edition of the festival has seen the participation of Kuwait, Oman, Iraq, Turkey, India, Greece, Zanzibar and Iran, showcasing their popular marine cuisine in a number of kiosks.
Qatari sailors wave as they are taken to one of the biggest traditional dhows in Qatar for the 3rd Fath al-Kheir voyage.
The Iraqi pavilion featured grilled fish delicacy called “Masgouf,” considered by many as the national dish of Iraq, while a Turkish restaurant served a variety of seafood dishes, including freshly caught and grilled Mackerel.
The Greek pavilion showcased authentic music and documentary screening of the Greek islands and ships, used in wars, fishing and other purposes.
The festival also hosts a theatrical play dubbed as ‘Abshero bl Ezz’ daily at Katara beach at 7.30pm, directed by artist Nasser Abdulla Abdulrida and performed by elite Qatari artistes, including Rashid al-Shaib, Hamad al-Hashemi, Abdullah al-Bakri and Mohamed Adel.
In a statement, Katara said the event reached an important and prestigious stage in the local, regional and international levels with its diversified activities, which highlight the rich Gulf and international maritime heritage, aimed at connecting present generations with the legacy of their ancestors’ traditions.