The Katara Traditional Dhow Festival hit a vibrant note on the first weekend of its ninth edition with thousands swarming the esplanade by the beach.
A large number of visitors, including families of various nationalities, watched cultural shows, savoured different cuisines, enjoyed music and dance, shopped and took dhow cruises on Thursday and Friday.
The festival this year, which has a more colourful look, is being held over two weeks from December 3-16 and is open from 9am-12noon, and from 3pm-10pm on all days.
Friday evening, in particular, saw the festival being flocked by people from all walks of life.
Pavilions of several countries recalling history and displaying maritime tradition, culture, clothes, cuisine and music wore a busy look, each with its distinct style and fervour.
The Qatari sea tradition, along with the nation’s historical progress, has been “expansively detailed with absorbing facts, while the fishing and sea-diving culture is vividly represented”, Katara has stressed in a statement.
The Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum and the Qatar pavilion (located at the beachfront centre) dig deep into the rich national past and the distinct Qatari culture.
“The search for oysters, and the pearl trade thereafter, the noble deeds of people who believed in goodness, charity and generosity, caring of the poor, their biographies, the landmark buildings and how they have come about – have all been displayed in great detail,” the statement noted.
The chiselled and gleaming traditional dhows lined all across, fishermen sewing their nets and the traditional fish and trade market of the past have all come alive, while also providing people with information.
From abroad, Italy with its Casa Italia pavilion has brought along a section dedicated to Sardinia and its world-famous tuna and the clothing culture.
Their music and food (pasta and pizza) are a big hit among visitors.
Also, traditionally-dressed women making pita (bread) are another attraction.
Spain has brought along a “moving culture of using recyclable goods” from the sea in this day and age of climate change.
A number of locals in particular could be seen interested in this.
The spectacular boat-shaped tent of Greece, which has been designed and installed this year by the Greek Society of Doha (Desmos), is also attracting many visitors.
Their music shows regale audiences in the afternoon as well as the evening, with visitors joining the revelry.
While Qatar and some Arab countries may share a similar culture, their traditions have been different in some cases.
As such, Kuwait is displaying its distinct pearl culture, Al Tawasha. Also how they nurture pearl is different. The making of Omani ‘halwa’ had numerous women and men interested to see why and how this sweet was so traditionally different.
The festival hosted various competitions yesterday, and school visits have been lined up today.
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