The 11th edition of the Katara International Dhow Festival, taking place at the Katara Beach esplanade until the Qatar National Day on December 18, has put a spotlight on the country’s history, culture and maritime tradition, and the sea.
Coinciding with the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, the 14-day Festival which began on November 30 provides visitors not only a unique experience but also various forms of edutainment (educational entertainment).
According to Katara – the Cultural Village, the history of dhow boat-making, deep-sea and pearl diving, livelihood it generates in the olden days, the tools used in the past and their importance, the various trade in the Gulf region and the pacific are all highlighted with fine aspects at the event.
Among the entities participating include the Abdul Aziz Al Bohachem Museum, which showcases the many supplies and equipment used in the pearl trade, and a section displaying Qatari architecture.
The museum also includes a library of Abdul Aziz Al-Bouhachem al-Sayed where a number of books on the history of diving and many collectibles are on display. This is in addition to the Qatar Museums’ “Our Sea Our Legacy” pavilion and the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Museum which attract many visitors annually.
The Festival has been attracting many schoolchildren in the morning with trips organised by school authorities, Katara noted.
“While one may read and try to learn about the sea and Qatar’s connection with it, when you come to the Festival you realise that there is so much more and in-depth. I and my friends found so many interesting and unknown to us till now, facts about deep-sea diving, the pearl, and Qatar’s historic past,” said Ammar, a student. “Now, I also want to come back in the evening with my parents and sister to see the singing and dancing shows.”
Apart from culture and history, the Festival also has exciting traditional sports competitions. The heritage marine competitions are of great interest to many people.
In co-operation with Katara, the Doha Marine Sports Club organises a series of these competitions which include the traditional rowing, sailing, and Al-Barikha (a boat race by tug of war) on Fridays and Saturdays of each week.
In the Festival’s opening week competition, the sailing championship winners include Ghazi team 1 (1st place) led by Al-Nokhada Abdullah Issa al-Khulaifi, and Ghazi team 2 (runner-up) led by Al-Nokhadha Fahd Mohamed al-Malki.
The Katara team, led by Al-Nokhadha Abdullah Ali Ghanem al-Mohannadi, won third place. In the rowing competition, the Katara team won the third place.
The Al-Khor team led by Al-Nokhadha Ahmed Yousef al-Hail won first place, and Al-Oqdah team led by Al-Nokhadha Jassim Ahmed Yousef al-Hail placed second, while the Coast Guard team led by Nasser Abdul Wahed finished third.
This latest edition of the festival also features a variety of other competitions, marine shows, and a series of workshops related to handicrafts that shed light on marine heritage, and reflects the environment on how ships and boats (galaf) are built.
Apart from fishing demonstrations, pearl diving and trade, and the presence of a traditional marketplace, the event also features live painting for visual artists, as well as musical performances by popular groups in the afternoon.