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Emirati culture to be on full display at Shaikh Zayed Heritage Festival

The Shaikh Zayed Heritage Festival will once again open its doors to the public on Friday as part of the National Day celebrations, inviting visitors to experience the rich culture and traditions of the UAE, with an array of activities and events planned for the festival.

Named in honour of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the festival will run from December 1 to January 27, making this year’s edition its longest one yet thanks to how popular it has become over the last few years. Organisers are expecting hundreds of thousands of visitors to attend the festival, which promises to cater to all segments of the public — from citizens to expatriates, and from old to young.

“This year’s Shaikh Zayed Festival is going to be bigger and better as compared to previous editions and will attract more children and families to the venue,” said Mohammad Ali Al Rumaithi, one of the festival’s organisers.

“We have stalls and areas at the festival that will showcase traditional and cultural aspects of the UAE that will attract the interest of both children and their families,” he added.

“The festival will also feature many memories of Shaikh Zayed for visitors to see and learn about. We are putting in all the efforts to ensure the satisfaction of families, children and visitors,” he said.

Like previous years, the festival will have several sections, each with its own unique setting and attraction.

UAE District

The UAE District will be a real-life replica of how an old neighbourhood used to look like; the district will feature traditional markets, as well as a number of exhibitions and folk art performances

Memories of the Nation

This is the place to be for those who want to gain an insight into the founding father of the UAE, Shaikh Zayed, as the exhibition celebrates both the life and legacy of Shaikh Zayed.

Old House Museum

The Old House Museum gives visitors the chance to see what an old Emirati home used to look like, both from the outside and inside. The house contains rooms and a majlis area to match the Emirati architecture and style of the past.

Falconry and Greyhound exhibition

Both animals hold a special place in Emirati culture, and so it is only fitting that they get a dedicated exhibition area, which looks at how Emiratis used and trained these animals for their day-to-day lives particularly when it came to things like hunting. The exhibition will also feature a selection of falcons, allowing visitors to see the beautiful bird up close.

World Heritage District

As well as celebrating Emirati culture and traditions, the heritage festival will also feature the participation of 24 other countries including Egypt, Afghanistan, Serbia, Ukraine, and Turkey, among others. Each of these districts has been set up to reflect the architecture and traditions of the country they are representing.

Kids Village

An area to keep young children busy and happy, with a number of games and entertainment activities lined up.

The festival will also feature several daily events for visitors such as the fountain and laser show that takes place every 30 minutes, a traditional military marching band, the world heritage parade featuring the other countries, and Arabian horse shows, among many others.

Visitors can also enjoy firework shows that take place every weekend.

Festival details

When: December 1 to January 27

Where: Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi

Opening Hours: 4pm to 10pm daily

Cost: Free admission

Fireworks shows: Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 7.45pm

Street artists and performers: 5pm to 10pm daily

Arabian Horse shows: 5pm and 6pm

World Heritage Parade: 7pm daily

Fountain and laser shows: Every 30 minutes from 4pm to 10pm daily

20 interactive exhibitions

24 cultural districts

60 traditional cafes and cuisines

500 shops with products from around the world

Source: Gulf News

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