Qatar’s rich heritage, customs come alive

July 31, 2014 - 1:52:39 am
A local artisan making miniature dhows.

BY RAYNALD C RIVERA

DOHA: Live demonstrations of Qatari handicraft-making continue until tonight at Heritage Village as a vital element of ‘Eid in Qatar’ activities and events organised by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).

While the event resonates into the memory of nationals about how their ancestors lived, it also provides expatriates with an idea of the rich heritage and handicraft industry of Qataris that thrived during the pre-oil era.

“Organising the event is very important to remind Qatari children of their culture and heritage and for non-Qataris living here to know Qatari culture and how Qataris lived before,” Nasser Al Jaber, Head of Events, told this daily.

Heritage Village, with its rustic structures, provides an ideal ambience for visitors to experience the creativity of local artisans at over a dozen stalls showcasing important elements of Qatari crafts and handicraft industry. 

They show how to make traditional wooden chests which people used to store clothes and jewellery, tailoring traditional Qatari clothes, creating fishing implements, cooking traditional food, weaving and henna, among others.

“Coming here is a perfect break from everyday city life,” said Lyn Na, an expatriate who works as an accountant. 

Since Heritage Village opened its doors for Eid festivities on Monday, the number of visitors has been increasing daily, said Al Jaber. “It is nice to discover how simple life in Qatar was. This gives us a glimpse into how far the country has progressed, and it is amazing how they exert serious efforts to look back to their past and preserve their heritage,” said Anton, another resident, visibly  impressed by activities.

Apart from the handicraft exhibition, other activities are being held at the venue such as tanoura and African dances, magic show as well as characters to entertain children. 

“In the past we used to organise activities only for children, but this year we made sure they are catered to the entire family,” said Al Jaber.

Performers from Qatar and other countries were supposed to stage shows during the event, but the Ministry of Culture, Arts,  and Heritage decided to cancel them in solidarity with the victims of atrocities in Gaza, he said.

“We have cancelled some events, including musical ones featuring artistes from Qatar and outside. A Qatari wedding was also part of the programme but we cancelled it in respect of victims in Palestine,” he added.

The ministry has been keen to promote Qatari heritage and tradition through events and activities it organises year round.

“We have been holding activities like these before Ramadan, during Ramadan and during Eid. We also plan to hold some events next Eid,” said Al Jaber. 

Organised by the ministry, Eid Al Fitr activities at Heritage Village will continue tonight from 6pm to 10pm.

THE PENINSULA

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