The first weekend of the 11th edition of the Katara International Dhow Festival saw a large number of visitors soak in the festivities and enjoy various shows and competitions.
The two-week festival, which reflects the renowned marine heritage and traditions of Qatar and the region, was launched last week, coinciding with FIFA Arab Cup 2021.
This year’s festival is spread over a large expanse by the Katara beachfront esplanade and has more cultural shows besides the craftsman’s market, pavilions of the participating countries as well as participating museums, bodies and ministries, such as the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Municipality, the Private Engineering Office, Qatar Museums and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, and Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum, as well as live painting throughout the festival with more comfort and safety.
The first weekend witnessed big appreciation for the Al-Nahma competition.
Locals follow this marine singing art with great interest and passion.
It is one of the most famous marine arts in Qatar and the Arabian Gulf, closely related to the marine environment, fishing trips and pearl diving, a press statement noted.
The 'Nahman' take turns to sing a number of marine 'mawwal' that many visitors love.
The singers move the audiences with their masterful performances between the art of the 'Nahma', its various sights and its many melodies, which differ depending on whether a ship is at sea or is docked.
The Al-Nahma competition, introduced at the 11th edition of the Katara Traditional Dhow Festival, recorded the participation of seven participants from Qatar, along with three from Iraq and two from Kuwait.
Meanwhile, the operetta with schoolchildren’s performances continues to be a big draw on stage.
In addition, the traditional story-telling competitions and stage shows continue throughout the festival.
The Haddaq Al-Saif fishing competition is also taking place on all days of the festival.
For those interested in maritime history of Qatar, Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum has highlighted historic facts through books that narrate legendary tales of the past about guns, the finding of oil and its journey in the region, marine navigational tools, trade and life in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Deep-sea diving and precious pearls, which are native to Qatar, from all over the Pacific region are also on display, the statement adds.
The Qatar Museums pavilion showcases some of the rarest and finest pearls, both freshwater and sea, with descriptions of how they are found and the marine life around the pearls.
“Oysters or sea shells, like those displayed here, can produce a pearl. Depending on the quality of a shell that is laid, it is also the quality of the pearl that is produced,” said Alex from Qatar Museums at their pavilion. “Pearl formations are due to a defence mechanism of the mollusk living in the shells.”
Visitors can also see some fine and precious pearl jewellery put up on display by Al Majed Jewellery.
They also watch artisans working on pearls, and see how pearls are curated and crafted to blended with jewels to create some of the finest jewellery.
Patrons are also enjoying a cinematic presentation of the “Fath Al Khair” – Qatar’s famous traditional dhow boat that has made trips around the world.
There are also many dhows on the Katara waters, where people can enjoy evening rides.
They also visit the floating café, accessing the venue by way of the free water taxi on the beach.
Live music, folk bands and traditional food of various types add to the visitors’ delight.
The festival runs until December 18 and is open to all nationalities and people from all walks of life from 9am-12noon and from 3pm-10pm.
On weekends, the festival is open until 11pm.
On Fridays, the festival opens at 3pm.
The Katara dhow festival – where traditions are revived and renewed – has established its position as a prominent destination for heritage, culture and tourism, reinforcing its role in preserving the authentic marine heritage and the customs and traditions of the ancestral past.
It attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.