Young UAE women compete in Traditional Market

Made by Al Gzyl

Browsing through the products displayed at the Traditional Market, visitors are spoiled for choice from hand-made perfumes to date-based sweets to crafted bags adorned with the traditional Emirati cloth.
Young female Emiratis are competing against each other in the market, displaying their labelled products which they have made themselves .
In one shop, a young Emirati from the local region invited me to try her sweets which has reminded me of Emiratis’ ceaseless sense of hospitality.
The 22-year-old girl told me that all the products displayed were made at home.
“All our sweets are made of dates from our farm in Liwa,” said her 20-year-old sister who joined the conversation.

Hand-made products neatly displayed

Their perfumes are made of oud. She said that there was important demand for her perfumes which her family have been making for the past thirty years.
The two sisters are thinking of expanding their business in the future like the other three Emirati sisters on the right side of the market.
One of the three sisters is only 19 years old and is very ambitious in taking her business to further levels as she plans to study perfumery in Paris.
Nicknamed Al Gzyl, she said she was eager to sell her perfumes face-to-face rather than market them online.
Although she learned about her participation in the event on the eve of the Festival, she managed to make more than a dozen perfumes in one day, which usually take a week to make.
She kindly invited us to smell her perfumes and scents which are alcohol free and expensive.
“The prices of my perfumes range from 35 to 150 AED (10 to $40) depending on the raw materials used in making them,” said the Emirati teenager who wants to be known only by her nickname Al Gzyl, which features on her business card.
The Traditional Market, which is held in Madinat Zayed , Abu Dhabi from December 14 to 28, is part of the activities of the seventh edition of Al Dhafra Festival, which is organised by the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi.
There are 180 shops in the whole market which gives the opportunity to local women, including housewives, students and businesswomen, to showcase their handicraft and other products they make.
Foreign tourists’ presence

Many tourists who made their way to the market came from Abu Dhabi after they heard about the festival through friends and the media.
A Polish couple in their late 40s told Middle East Online that they experienced a unique adventure before coming to visit the Traditional Market.
We spent the night in a tent close to the Traditional Market , said Jana, adding that Emiratis showed us their great hospitality.

“We are going to attend the camel competition and other activities related to the festival while we are here,” she said.
“It is an unusual experience for us and a fantastic journey which taught us a great deal about the Emirati culture,” added Jana.
An American tourist could be seen browsing through hand-made pillowcases across the market as he seemed to know what he was looking for.
“I’m looking for a large pillowcase as a gift to my mother in the United States. I have to find the right colours that can match my mother’s sofa,” said the 35-year-old James who is on a business trip in the UAE.