The 11th edition of the Katara International Dhow Festival began on Tuesday with the participation of Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Greece, India, Zanzibar, and Turkey besides Qatar.
The festival which runs until December 18 was inaugurated by Katara - The Cultural Village general manager Prof Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti in the presence of HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani and a number of ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions in the country.
“The dhow festival has become a yearly celebration of culture and traditions that transcends the local boundaries and reach out regionally and globally to keep the marine heritage of the region alive."
The festival reenacts the heritage of the region and feature more than 50 different related activities. "This edition of the dhow festival has a special flavour, since it coincides with the country's hosting of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, giving an opportunity for the guests and residents to learn about the fine details of our Qatari and GCC heritage and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere simultaneously."
Captain Hassan al-Kaabi, a Qatari marine navigator who have made many sea voyages across all the GCC countries and up to Mumbai in India using dhows, stressed that the festival has seen great development over the past eleven years as he has been a regular participant since its first edition.
As a dhow builder of many years using traditional methods Captain al-Kaabi was of the view that the field needs more support from the entities concerned, to keep the industry alive and instruct the new generations on the involved aspects of life.
Jassim Abdulrahman al-Hamad al-Mannai, a Qatari author and expert in the marine heritage of the region and Qatar, expressed his appreciation for the festival. He has published a reference book on some particular aspects of the Qatari marine heritage, giving the history of more than 500 dhows and their owners, and documenting the different stages of the pearl diving industry in the country.
Al-Mannai has also dedicated a supplement for the book (Arabic and English) on the specific terminology used for dhows and their various types and local names, the tools of pearl diving and all the elated items with illustrative photos. He also distributes this booklet free to all interested visitors at the festival.
Saleh Jumaa al-Arami, a wooden ship manufacturer from Oman taking part for the first time at the festival, described the event as an excellent opportunity for business expansion and partnerships.
Ibrahim al-Iqali, producer of handmade palm frond items from Iraq, said the festival can create new business opportunities for the related handicraft industry.
Abdulmuhsin al-Sayigh, a pearl and jewellery maker from Kuwait, stressed that the festival has helped people in the industry to know each other, exchange experiences and make new business partnerships and deals.
This year’s dhow festival carries a different engineering design, where visitors will be able to follow all the events from both sides of the beach and the waterfront, besides the craftsman’s market, and the various pavilions.
The festival also presents more than 85 crafts from Qatar, and about 100 from Oman, all traditional crafts drawn from the maritime heritage of the GCC countries.
Live music, folk bands, and traditional food of various cuisines will also be on offer. Artistic performances will be presented by popular groups on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
The festival is open to all the public from 9am to 12 noon and from 3pm to 10 pm. On weekends, the festival will remain open until 11pm. On Fridays, the festival will open at 3pm.