The festival comes as a continuation of the efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to support heritage preservation projects…reports Asian Lite News
The 17th edition of Al Dhafra Festival is set to take place from 21 October 2023 to 8 February 2024 as part of the camel mazayna season in Abu Dhabi. The event will be held under the organisation of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi in cooperation with Emirates Heritage Club.
The festival comes as a continuation of the efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to support heritage preservation projects, promote and develop heritage festivals, enable camel owners to sustain the practice of breeding and caring for camels, and support falconry and purebred Arabian horses contests and other heritage competitions. These efforts have transformed Abu Dhabi into a unique model in the field of heritage festivals organisation.
The festival highlights the role of camels in the culture and heritage of the UAE and the GCC countries through camel mazayna competitions held in Abu Dhabi for purebred breeds in the categories of Asayel, Majahim, Asayel hybrids and Wadh. The upcoming edition will include Sweihan mazayna, Razeen mazayna, Madinat Zayed mazayna and the concluding festival: Al Dhafra Festival.
The 17th edition of Al Dhafra Festival is the largest since its inception in 2008, with organising committee assigning a total of 361 rounds for all the participating camel breeds – an increase of 35 rounds compared to the previous edition.
Al Dhafra Festival aims to unify the standards, terms and conditions, and intensify efforts to achieve success in the mazayna competitions, expand participation of camel owners in the competitions, preserve the purebred camel breeds, boost camel trade, contribute to the development of domestic and Gulf tourism and spur economic activity. The festival also aims to shed light on the region and strengthen the status of Abu Dhabi as the leading destination for camel mazaynas and a regional and global platform for heritage events. It also seeks to highlight and revive the Emirati and Arab heritage through camel beauty competitions, convey UAE’s civilisational and humanitarian message to the world, and promote the values of loyalty and belonging.
The festival will also feature various accompanying heritage competitions and events including falconry competition, camel milking competitions, Arabian horse race, traditional Arabian saluki race, falcon beauty pageant and a Arabian saluki beauty contest. The event will also comprise a shooting competition, Al Naim sheep beauty pageant, date mazayna and packaging competition, sour milk contest, and camel sitting competition, in addition to a traditional market and desert camps, which all reflect the passion of the people of UAE and the Gulf region for such features of their heritage.
Through the organisation of the camel mazayna season and other heritage and cultural festivals and events, the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee seeks to underscore Abu Dhabi’s prominent standing and its role in enhancing the cultural landscape and heritage of the Arab and Gulf regions. This aspiration comes in line with the committee’s plans to promote culture, preserve Emirati heritage, reinforce its values and pass them onto future generations. It also aims to emphasise the significance of heritage and its substantial impact on people’s advancement and the reinforcement of their cultural identity, all within the broader context of the nation’s progress across various fields.