Janadriyah festival opens today
April 03, 2013
RIYADH — The 28th National Cultural and Heritage Festival at Janadriyah will open its doors Thursday following an official opening by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Wednesday.
One of this year’s highlights are talks by over 300 thinkers and writers from around the world, discussing Saudi Arabia’s international position, the political state of Arab countries, Islamic politics, national economics, the Arabic language and its identity challenges, among many other topics, according to an official press release.
The Janadriya Festival, named so after the Janadriyah Village in Riyadh region, is organized annually by the National Guard and known as a hub of creativity in the Kingdom, with vendors gathering from all corners of the country to trade in handmade crafts, antiques, traditional cuisine. Cultural activities are also organized on the sidelines of the festival.
Among this year’s entertainment will be a concert entitled “Qibalt Al Nour,” which will feature performances by Mohammed Abdo, Rashed Al-Majed, Majed Al-Muhandes and Khaled Abdulrahman, with words by poets Mastura Al-Ahmadi and Najla Al-Muhaya, and music by Khaled Al-Olayan.
The concert will be organized this year by the MBC Group and follows the themes of patriotism and nationalism, spanning topics from Saudi heritage to modernity.
Every year, the Janadriyah Festival invites a guest of honor to participate in the celebrations and enforce political and social ties with the guest country. This year, China is that guest of honor. Visitors will be introduced to Chinese culture and heritage through exhibitions and presentations at the festival’s Chinese Wing.
The festival launches Wednesday with the first of several camel races, a long-standing festival tradition. Over 1,200 participants have entered this year’s camel races and will compete across six individual competitions for prizes worth SR1.5 million and 10 cars.
The festival also hosts several horse races and endurance races as part of its entertainment schedule.
Several new organizations are participating in the festival this year, including the General Directorate for the Two Holy Mosques, the National Center for Palms and Dates, the Saudi Electricity Company and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.
The festival ground is divided into several sections, each focusing on one of Saudi Arabia’s principalities, as well as grounds for delegations from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, each with their individual section, as well as a standalone section for the remaining GCC countries.
One of the most anticipated events every year is the Saudi National Dance (A’rda), which emphasizes the unity of Saudi Arabia as well as its roles of strength and leadership.
The A’rda is a traditional dance, derived from the Arab Peninsula’s folklore, and is the culmination of many tribal dances specific to several regions of modern-day Saudi Arabia.
Many prominent Saudi royals have participated in the A’rda, including King Abdullah, who has participated several times in the past.
The Janadriyah Festival takes place every year at the Janadriyah Village in Diriyah, Riyadh and draws over five million visitors, aiming to enforce a sense of religious, national and social unity.
The festival will open to the public Thursday, with men only from Thursday to Sunday, families and women from Monday to Friday and to school students from Saturday to Wednesday.