DUBAI: Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) is organising ‘Al Shindagha Days’ to promote Emirati maritime heritage, and the sea's impact on community life and its beauty and history via diverse activities, heritage performances, and interactive workshops that explore the relationship of the Dubai residents with the sea and the nature of the traditional handcraft.
The festival, taking place from 24th November to 3rd December 2023, offers a rich programme of cultural experiences, artistic performances, and heritage displays that re-enact and embody the traditional life in Dubai. It deepens the public's relationship with these elements and enhances their knowledge of Al Shindagha Historic Neighbourhood and its potential.
Abdalla Al Obeidli, Acting Manager of Al Shindagha Museum, affirmed Dubai Culture's commitment to reviving, preserving, and safeguarding Emirati heritage, customs, traditions, and practices ensuring their continuity, saying, “Heritage plays a significant role in community development, the preservation of national identity, and its establishment in the minds of the younger generations. It also serves as an intellectual and cultural reference, thanks to the details and stories associated with the collective memory.”
Al Obeidli stressed the importance of ‘Al Shindagha Days’ in strengthening the community's connection to local practices, adding, “The sea is one of the main pillars of Emirati heritage, revealing the depth of the relationship between Dubai and its residents with the sea. This is reflected in the variety of activities showcased during the festival, which portray traditional lifestyles, crafts, and artisanal practices, presented in a modern and vibrant manner that reflects their authenticity and the rich history of Dubai.”
Throughout the festival, which carries the theme ‘Celebrating Our Culture of the Sea,’ visitors will have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of workshops inspired by local crafts including boat building, weaving, and pearl diving.
Through these workshops, the audience will have the opportunity to learn about traditional boat-building techniques, sails, ropes, the making of ‘Gargour’ fishing nets, the process of pearl diving, and even practice ‘Burga Making’. They can also discover the secrets of making incense, Dukhoon, and Henna.
The festival's agenda includes a workshop on ‘Nahma writing and performing’, which allows visitors to compose an ‘Al Nahma’ Visitors can experience the vibrancy of the creek and learn about the life of Emirati fishermen, and the details of their maritime equipment. They can additionally unleash their creativity in the ‘Sail and Paint’ workshop.
Children will have the chance to experience building traditional boats during ‘Boat Tinkering’. Through the ‘Sensory Fish Molding’ workshop, they will learn about the local fish species living in the area.
The audience can enjoy a variety of interactive performances inspired by traditional coastal music, as well as folklore shows. Additionally, they can watch the interactive theatrical performance ‘Stories of the Sea' lead by a group of local students.
Visitors will also get the opportunity to familiarise themselves with a range of traditional Emirati games, including ‘Al Gaheef’, ‘Al Karabi’, and ‘Al Dusays’ some of the most popular traditional games.