Saudi Arabia: Farasan Islands Host 20th Hareed Festival in Celebration of Culture

This vibrant annual event celebrates the arrival of parrotfish in the islands' shallow waters. SPA
This vibrant annual event celebrates the arrival of parrotfish in the islands' shallow waters. SPA
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Saudi Arabia: Farasan Islands Host 20th Hareed Festival in Celebration of Culture

This vibrant annual event celebrates the arrival of parrotfish in the islands' shallow waters. SPA
This vibrant annual event celebrates the arrival of parrotfish in the islands' shallow waters. SPA

The Farasan Islands, a string of coral islands nestled 40 kilometers off the coast of Jizan in the Red Sea, are abuzz with activity as they host the 20th edition of the Hareed (parrotfish) Festival, the Saudi Press Agency reported Sunday.
This vibrant annual event, held in late April and early May, celebrates the arrival of parrotfish in the islands' shallow waters, SPA said.
For generations, the Farasan people have cherished this natural phenomenon, transforming it into a social gathering that goes beyond the fish. The festival showcases the islands' unique customs, traditions, folk games, and handicrafts. It also throws a spotlight on Farasan's remarkable tourism potential and historical sites.
Festival visitors may have a glimpse at the islands' rich cultural heritage. One of the highlights is "Al-Dana", a captivating form of vocal art that is one of Farasan's oldest folk traditions. It is a poignant expression of longing that arose from the hardships endured by sailors on extended pearl-diving expeditions. The challenges faced by these brave men fueled this art form, which is deeply rooted in Farasan's cultural identity, SPA said.
The festival also provides a platform for Farasan residents to showcase their traditional handicrafts. Visitors get to see the production of fishing traps and nets, the intricate weaving of palm fronds, the creation of bags and rugs, and the art of hat knitting.
A dedicated area at the Hareed fishing site caters to families and children; there, participants can experience the thrill of catching parrotfish using a traditional method that involves setting up barriers to prevent the fish from escaping. This competition, a centuries-old tradition, allows families to connect with the island's fishing heritage.
Just five kilometers from Farasan Grand Island lies Al-Qassar Village, a captivating destination that draws many visitors. This heritage village, built with stone and palm leaves, boasts the largest palm oasis in the archipelago. Al-Qassar served as a summer retreat for Farasan residents, who would travel by camel to spend a three-month getaway during the season of Al-Asef, the northwestern summer wind that comes after the Hareed fishing season.
Famous for its abundance of fresh groundwater, Al-Qassar Village comprises around 400 houses. These unique dwellings with stone walls and roofs made of palm tree planks, leaves, Doum palm, or Anisotes trisulcus branches topped with algae and mud, show traditional building techniques designed to withstand the elements.



Culinary Arts Commission to Participate in 'Taste London' Exhibition in June

Culinary Arts Commission to Participate in 'Taste London' Exhibition in June
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Culinary Arts Commission to Participate in 'Taste London' Exhibition in June

Culinary Arts Commission to Participate in 'Taste London' Exhibition in June

The Saudi Culinary Arts Commission will participate in the 'Taste London' food festival and exhibition for the second consecutive time.
The event, scheduled from June 12 to 16 in London, will serve as a platform to showcase the rich and diverse culture of Saudi culinary arts globally and involve Saudi chefs in international forums.
The commission, a key partner in this international event, will present the unique flavours and traditions of Saudi Arabia under the slogan 'A Taste of Saudi Culture,' SPA reported.

Its national pavilion will be a hub of activity, featuring live cooking demonstrations of authentic Saudi dishes by talented Saudi chefs, a beverage maker's area showcasing the richness of Saudi drinks, and a product store promoting culinary arts books, packaged products such as dates, spices, and coffee cups, as well as handicrafts and souvenirs. A hospitality tent will serve renowned Saudi coffee and host engaging sessions for festival visitors.
The commission's participation in the Taste London exhibition for the second time is not only an opportunity for visitors of various nationalities to discover Saudi culinary arts and dishes but also a testament to Saudi culture's global reach and influence.
The goal is to provide an exceptional experience, allowing them to learn about Saudi culture through artisanal products, enhance the international status of Saudi food, and enable Saudi chefs to showcase their skills externally.
This participation also reflects the commission's unwavering commitment to promoting international cultural exchange as part of the goals of the National Strategy for Culture under the Kingdom's Vision 2030.