The 9th Katara Traditional Dhow Festival started on a vibrant note on the first weekend of its 9th edition with thousands swarming the esplanade by the beach. A large number of visitors, including families of various nationalities, watched cultural shows, savoured cuisines, enjoyed music and dances, shopped and took dhow cruises.
The festival, which carries a more colourful look this year, is ongoing until 16 December. It is open from 9 am to 12 pm, and from 3 pm to 10 pm on all days.
This Friday evening saw the festival flocked by people from all walks of life. Pavilions of several countries recalling history and displaying maritime tradition, culture, clothes, cuisine and music, each with their distinct style and fervour.
The Qatari sea tradition along with the nation’s historical progress has been expansively detailed with facts, while the fishing and sea-diving culture is vividly represented. The Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum, and the Qatar pavilion (located at the beach front centre) digs deep into the rich national past and into the distinction of Qatari culture. The search for oysters, and the pearl trade thereafter, the noble deeds of people who believed in goodness, charity and generosity, caring for the poor, their biographies, the landmark buildings and how they have came about – were all on display prominently.
The finely-chiselled and gleaming traditional dhow boats are all lined up with traditional fishermen sewing fishing nets – the traditional fish and trade market of the past have all come alive and people are exploring for more information!
From overseas, Italy with its Casa Italia pavilion has brought along a dedicated section of Sardenia and its now world-famous tuna and clothing culture. Their music and food (pasta and pizza) is also a big hit with visitors. Traditionally-dressed ladies making pita (bread) were also a big attraction.
Spain has brought along a moving culture using recyclable goods from the sea. A lot of locals were interested especially as more people are getting more aware of climate change.
The spectacular boat-shaped tent of Greece, which has been designed and installed this year by the Greek Society of Doha ‘Desmos’, has also been attracting many visitors. Their music, which includes hit tunes from ‘Mamma Mia’, regale audiences in the afternoon and which changed into even more lively dance music in the evenings.
While Qatar and some Arabic countries share the same culture, their traditions have been different. Kuwait, for instance, is displaying their distinct pearl culture ‘Al Tawasha’. The making of Omani ‘halwa’ also had numerous men and women interested.
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