The National Heritage and Culture Festival, which was opened by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah in Janadriyah outside Riyadh last week, is an open museum showcasing Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage.
Ever since its opening on April 13, it has been drawing a large number of Saudi and foreign visitors. According to organizers, more than 500,000 people have visited the event during the last seven days.
Pavilions of the Kingdom’s 13 provinces showcased folk dances in addition to customs and traditions from the past.
A 25-member folk troupe at Al-Jouf pavilion presents Dabka dance to entertain visitors. Dabka is one of the popular dances in Al-Jouf.
Many people were found gathering in front of the pavilion for the Makkah province to hear the mizmar, a flute-like musical instrument. The pavilion also presents folklore dances.
The popular souk at the Hail pavilion attracts a large number of visitors interested in purchasing souvenirs and handicrafts.
People can also enjoy at the souk a variety of traditional dishes. A number of antiquities including pots and other household items are also displayed at the pavilion.
A traditional ceremony to honor those who memorize the Holy Qur’an is displayed at the Madinah pavilion.
“This is the first time the ‘Khatma and Sarafa’ ceremony is displayed at the pavilion,” an official said.
The ceremony begins with the memorizer wearing a special traditional dress. The memorizer, accompanied by members of his family and friends, go in a procession to the teacher who taught him the Qur’an.
Thursday is the third day for families to visit the festival.