HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) yesterday visited the inaugural National Traditional Handicrafts Festival currently running in Abu Dhabi’s Oasis City of Al Ain. The festival, which has run since October 23, has been extended by a day to also take in this Friday (October 31) following high public demand. Sheikh Sultan was accompanied by HE Jasem Al Darmaki, Acting Director General, TCA Abu Dhabi, which is behind the festival.
Held at the historic Souq Al Qattara, the festival features a traditional Friday market, which will now become a regular weekend feature running every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Some 70 handicraft producers are taking part in the event, all from local families who are presenting a wide range of hand-made goods crafted along traditional lines. Visitors can also take in a heritage workshop and see performances by traditional dancers, including demonstrations of the emirate’s signature ‘Ayala’ dance.
The festival is open free of charge to the public from 8am until 1pm and from 4pm until 10pm.
The National Traditional Handicrafts Festival has been launched TCA Abu Dhabi as part of its objectives of preserving, celebrating and promoting the UAE’s intangible heritage. It’s also aimed at transferring traditional skills to the younger generation to ensure their existence.
The festival features a full public programme including heritage competitions for visitors of all ages, such as an Al Yola dance contest for kids, a craftsmanship competition, demonstrations of traditional food preparation and Arabic coffee, and traditional performances of music from the rebaba stringed instrument.
TCA Abu Dhabi is currently researching the number and geographic spread of traditional handicraft producers and is looking to highlight the role they play in transferring heritage knowledge to future generations. The Authority supports local artisans in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain to help them contribute more actively to the national economy and cultural scene.