Captivating and full of enthusiasm as always, the 10th Katara Traditional Dhow Festival got off to a cautious but colourful start on a cloudy yet breezy afternoon by the beach at the Cultural Village Foundation – Katara.

Inaugural dhow rideHE Minister of State and President of Qatar National Library Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, former Minister of Energy and Industry HE Dr Mohamed bin Saleh Al Sada, Katara General Manager HE Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, led the inauguration with a ride in a traditional dhow boat, together with ambassadors and other dignitaries.

According to HE Dr Al Sulaiti Katara, the festival has reached the hearts and soul of visitors and heritage lovers – including citizens and residents of Qatar.

This festival through heritage, history and storytelling brings alive folklore to the people … the distinctive activities also contribute to the spread of culture as well as reflect on contemporary generations.

Dr Al Sulaiti also stressed that the festival is being held with all the precautionary measures and Ministry of Public Health protocols in place, within the framework of the plan for the gradual lifting of restrictions imposed due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Past and Present 

The festival plays a prominent role in keeping the older and younger generations bonded in culture and heritage, and showcases to people Qatar’s maritime past and present, along with that of other participating countries. Five countries, apart from Qatar, are participating in the festival – Kuwait, Oman, Iraq, India, and Tanzania.

As soon as the sun set over the sea, the festival began to glow resplendent in the mix of tradition and culture as stream of visitors and families, maintaining social distancing, began to flow. The festival once again has a lot and unique things on offer including live oysters and pearls along with their live fishing examples for all to see.

Traditional and impressive dhows and wooden boats, live artists with eye-catching paintings, special pavilions of traditional handicrafts, and workshops showcasing the ship-building process and ancient craft, history museums, pottery and fishing art, fish markets, food and music enlivens the festival on all days.

As in the past decade, the festival is also characterised by a number of competitions and marine shows, besides a variety of cultural activities including drones. There will be storytelling and traditional stage shows throughout the festival at the Katara beach front. There will also be the Al Shoush, Al Haddaq and Al Tafris competitions. The Omani Folk Band is providing artistic performances in the mornings and evenings on all days of the festival.

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Katara 10th Traditional Dhow Festival