Al Ain to host National Traditional Handicrafts Festival

ABU DHABI - Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is to launch a National Traditional Handicrafts Festival in the emirate’s heritage heartland of Al Ain this October.
Running from October 23 – 29, and in line with Authority’s objectives to preserve, celebrate and promote the Intangible heritage of the UAE, the festival will take place at the historic Souq Al Qattara and will feature a series of activities and initiatives including a souk for crafts, and showcasing heritage material , and traditional products,
A full public programme will accompany the festival and will include heritage competitions for visitors of all ages, such as a Al Yola dance contest for kids, a craftsmanship competition, preparation of traditional dishes and the traditional making of Arabic coffee in addition to traditional performances of Al Harbiyah, Al Ayyalah, rebaba music, Al Shillah and Al Yola.
The festival aims at shedding light on the importance of traditional craftsmanship in Emirati heritage and supporting craftsmen’s efforts to preserve, revive, and transfer their skills to future generations and It will be supported by a number of Emirati organisations.
“Craftsmanship was a major source of income for our forefathers and is deep-rooted in our heritage,” said Dr. Nasser Ali Al Hamairi, Director of TCA Abu Dhabi’s Intangible Heritage Department. “Craftsmanship reflected the very essence of the social values at the time and the deep bond between local people and their surrounding environment. Despite the scarcity of natural resources, people were able to invent tools to help them withstand harsh living conditions and these crafts added an aesthetic touch to the details of their daily lives.
“We hope this new festival reinvigorates traditional handicrafts practice to enable the younger generations to experience an important aspect of their forefathers’ way of life.”
The festival will include specialised workshops led by experts on the production and promotion of traditional handicrafts. . The workshops will also outline how handicrafts are part of the living heritage and intrinsic to the modern life.
TCA Abu Dhabi is researching the number and geographic spread of traditional handicrafts producers and is looking to emphasise the crucial role they play in transferring heritage knowledge to future generations. The Authority is currently supporting the artisans in contributing more actively to the national economy and cultural scene.
The Authority’s Intangible Heritage Department counts a number of artisans working in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and constantly promoting the intangible heritage to a wider audience The Authority also supports craftswomen’s participation in traditional souks, festivals, national events, and educational activities.