Captivating as always, the 10th Katara Traditional Dhow Festival got off to a colourful start on a cloudy yet breezy afternoon by the beach of Katara - the Cultural Village Foundation Tuesday.
The event is being held with the observance of Covid-19 precautionary measures adopted by the State.
The launch of the festival was attended by HE the Minister of State and President of Qatar National Library Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari, HE the Former Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, General Manager of Katara Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti and a number of ambassadors, dignitaries and visitors, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.
They marked the opening by taking a ride on a traditional dhow, which was followed by a tour of different sections of the festival whose activities "reflect the heritage of parents and grandparents and highlight their relationship with the sea", QNA says.
Five countries apart from Qatar are participating in the festival: Kuwait, Oman, Iraq, India and Tanzania (Zanzibar), according to a press statement by Katara.
Running until December 5, the festival features exhibitions of marine heritage collections from the participating countries, special pavilions for traditional handicrafts, ancient shipbuilding workshops and a number of ancient crafts, in addition to a special artistic corner showcasing plastic paintings of traditional dhows.
In remarks to QNA, HE Dr al-Kawari said the Katara Traditional Dhow Festival is considered a "vital and important part of the cultural life of Qatar, and indeed the Arabian Gulf, and an important contribution to the world heritage".
He praised the organisers for holding the festival for the 10th year in a row while also being keen to have new additions annually, making it not only a cultural event, but also a social, artistic and heritage event.
Further, he noted that holding the festival this year during the Covid-19 pandemic affirms its distinctiveness and determination to continue despite all obstacles, which reflects a fundamental principle of Qatar, which is to overcome difficulties and challenges and turn them into tools of success.
Despite the current circumstances, HE Dr al-Kawari added, the festival covers all its usual aspects of arts and performances without compromising its cultural standing. He praised the efforts of the Katara administration, which has succeeded in making the Cultural Village a global monument for Qatari culture and a crossroads of cultures.
HE Al Kuwari looked forward for the coming editions of the Katara Traditional Dhow Festival to have new important additions in line with Qatar's hosting of the 2022 World Cup.
For his part, Dr al-Sulaiti said: "The festival has reached the hearts and soul of visitors and heritage lovers, who include citizens and residents of all nationalities in Qatar. This festival, through heritage, history and storytelling, brings alive folklore to the people through distinctive activities that also contribute to the spread of culture as well as reflecting contemporary generations."
Dr al-Sulaiti said the festival is being held with all precautionary measures and protocols, set by the Ministry of Public Health, in place - within the framework of the plan for the gradual lifting of restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Traditional and impressive dhows and wooden boats, artists with eye-catching paintings, special pavilions of traditional handicrafts and workshops showcasing the shipbuilding process and ancient craft, history museums, pottery and fishing art, fish markets, food and music will enliven the festival over the coming few days, according to Katara.
As in the past one decade, the festival is also characterised by a number of competitions and marine shows, besides a variety of cultural and other activities, including drones.
There will also be storytelling and traditional stage shows throughout the festival on the Katara beachfront, while also featuring the Al Shoush, Al Haddaq and Al Tafris competitions.
An Omani folk band is providing artistic performances in the mornings and evenings on all days of the festival.
"As soon as the sun began to set over the sea, the festival began to glow with a mix of tradition and culture as streams of visitors and families, maintaining social distancing, began to flow," the Katara statement said, adding that the festival "once again has a lot and unique things on offer, including live oysters and pearls along with their fishing examples for all to see".
This year's edition of the festival is partnered by Qatar Insurance, Official Insurance Sponsor; Qatar Airways, Official Carrier; and Qatar Petroleum, Platinum Sponsor.