* Visitors wowed on Day 3 amid social distancing
Qatar’s maritime history, particularly the pearl, remains in the spotlight at the 10th edition of Katara Traditional Dhow Festival.Last updated: December 03 2020 10:56 PM
“Qatar, like many countries of the world, always had a great historic connect with the sea. Qatar’s maritime history is full of legendary tales of how the nation has become renowned for pearls globally,” Katara – the Cultural Village Foundation said in a press statement on Thursday.
The festival "brings this facet to light for the present-day generation to learn from history and to see for themselves the valuable marine resources of Qatar and the heritage, besides many other sea-related products of other participating countries", the statement notes.
Pearl has been one of the most valuable and ancient natural resources of Qatar, and the deep-sea diving history of the nation has been well-known for ages. For the younger generation, the presence of some of these professionals and how oysters are brought to land and how a pearl is actually found is fascinating.
Deep-sea diving was once a source of livelihood in the past, and ‘tawash’ and carpentry were among the prominent occupations in the labour market.
The Qatari ‘Al Hayrat’ oyster is considered one of the best in the Arabian world, as the finest pearls are extracted from them.
Meanwhile, Katara said the festival continued to excite and charm dignitaries, ambassadors and other visitors alike yesterday, which was Day 3 of the event.
Spread across the beachfront esplanade of Katara, the activities are being conducted in strict accordance with the Ministry of Public Health's safety guidelines and precautions for the prevention of Covid-19.
Katara, in co-operation with Al Meera, one of the sponsors of the festival, is ensuring the use of sanitisers, masks and gloves for the safety of all.
"Feeling safe and maintaining social distance, visitors are having a great experience at the festival, which is much more than just a marketplace," the statement continued.
Besides many treasures of the sea, music provided by an Omani folk band and the delicious traditional food on offer, there is a lot to learn and gain from the historic and traditional value on show for people of all ages and walks of life.
Another highlight at the 10th dhow festival is the presence of Al Majid jewellery pavilion, which showcases some of the finest, ancient and modern jewels, including pearls.
The pavilion has a section that shows how pearls are measured and grouped into formations as jewellery. It also has an assortment of necklaces – "mixed with traditional heritage and shaped by modern designs".
While diving and pearl is one facet, the boats used for fishing are an equally challenging and key dimension of maritime culture.
The marine heritage of Iraq, while being distinct, can at the same time be commonly associated with the Arabian maritime tradition and history.
Speaking about their presence at the festival this year, Mahdi Mutashar, supervising the Iraqi pavilion Al-Janaj, said: “We are this time displaying Iraqi folk craft such as making ‘mushaf’ boats used for fishing in addition to hand made woolen carpets. Our craftsmen are also making baskets and table mats (woven rugs), which people can see for themselves and realise the originality of the tradition and culture.”
The pavilion of Oman is showcasing antiques and rare collectibles of the sea.
Hammoud bin Abdullah al-Amrani, managing the Omani pavilion, said they have antiques and rare collectibles of the sea, as well as personal supplies of sailors from their long voyages that could last up to six months and more.
The Omani pavilion also showcases utensils used for cooking, food storage methods, in addition to natural oil utensils that are used for treatment purposes.
Medication, in addition to many exhibits representing models of famous ships of the Omani maritime heritage, pearl extraction tools, oysters and scales used by the 'tawash' and boxes ('pashtata') used to collect the pearl crop, as well as many ancient antique collectibles such as Rumaila clocks and compass dating back 150 years, are also on show.
The festival will receive visitors from 1pm to 11pm on Friday and from 10pm to 10pm Saturday.