Posted on November 19, 2013

Katara welcomed nearly 100 dhows from across the Gulf region yesterday afternoon for the opening ceremony of the third Traditional Dhow Festival. The dhows sailed from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to celebrate the cultural and economic importance of these vessels, which were used by Arab sailors, traders, fishermen and pearl divers for centuries.

The opening ceremony was inaugurated by HE Dr Hamad Bin Abdul Aziz Al Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage; and Katara General Manager, Dr. Khalid Bin Ibrahim Al-Sulaiti.

The program features a series of heritage lectures, performances by renowned regional bands, live boat-building demonstrations, dhow cruises, light and fireworks shows, children’s activities and exhibits from museums across the Gulf.

There will also be a series of exciting maritime races in which the public are welcome to participate:

  • Sailing: 20 November. Contact +974 6656 1313 to register.
  • Rowing: 21 November. Contact +974 7710 0151 to register.
  • Pearl-diving: 21 November. Contact +974 6656 1313 to register.

The winners will be announced at a special award ceremony at 6:00pm on 23 November.

Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, General Manager of Katara, said: “This unique festival honors the importance of the seas in Qatari culture, the pearl diving era reflects our heritage and to this day we still value the true importance of our waters. The purpose of this festival is to showcase our Qatari heritage through a wide variety of traditional and cultural performances. It is a way to connect the Qatari people with their past and traditions.”

“The opening of the Third Traditional Dhow Festival started off as a success and I’m looking forward for the next couple of days,” commented Ahmed Al Hitmi, Dhow Festival Committee Manager.“The Dhow Festival pays tribute to our ancestors who worked effortlessly to build a future for our country. This event provides a platform for cultural exchange, promoting Qatari history, educating and promoting our legacy with the youth of Qatar.”

The event runs from 19-23 November. Public opening hours are as follows:

  • 19, 20 and 23 November: 9:00am-10:00pm
  • 21 November: 9:00am-11:00pm
  • 22 November: 3.00pm-11:00pm
  • Public schools may visit the Festival between 09:00AM-12:00PM