The annual Qasr al Hosn Festival is returning this month!  The festival will take place from February 20 to March 1 2014.
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority announced today the full details of the public programme of workshops, demonstrations, performances and activities to be held in the themed experience areas of Qasr al Hosn Festival, which runs on the site of Qasr al Hosn, the symbolic birthplace of Abu Dhabi.
Qasr al Hosn Festival will offer four distinct experience areas revealing different aspects of Abu Dhabi’s history and culture. Each area - Desert, Oasis, Marine and Abu Dhabi Island – will offer an array of interactive workshops and activities, including traditional performances and demonstrations highlighting Emirati skills and traditions.
All scheduled workshops are free and can be registered for on-site during the festival. The workshops operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and have limited capacity.
Activities and demonstrations will be occurring constantly throughout the festival, during the opening hours of 4pm and 11pm, and do not require registration.
Abu Dhabi Island
Activities in the Abu Dhabi Island & The Fort area include educational archaeological digs and artefacts handling sessions (where children can explore elements of Abu Dhabi’s history), horseriding, and traditional games can be played beside a ‘school’ that will be set up to emulate how traditional Emirati schools used to look and operate. Visitors will also be able to enjoy demonstrations of Sadu, Henna and Dukhoun (traditional scent or incense making), and have the opportunity to join in themselves.
There will also be a traditional wedding house, or “Beit Al Zehba”, where visitors can watch performers prepare for a traditional Abu Dhabi wedding with dancing, music and costumes, giving festival visitors a unique glimpse into a very special celebration.
Scheduled workshops include Dukhoun, Henna, Ajfaa, Telli, and Sadu making, as well as the opportunity to be taught Emirati culinary specialities by well-known Emirati chefs.
Guests will also be able to explore a souk selling authentic, high-quality items reflecting UAE crafts and traditions.
This area will allow visitors to experience and witness the desert life of the Bedouins.
Ongoing activities include Hatheera (with the techniques of making traditional coffee), butter making and traditional food tasting. Visitors will be able to watch demonstrations of Al Yowla (a traditional male Emirati dance for males), and traditional Bedouin etiquette and saddle making.
With the support of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, an animal pen will house the now-endangered Houbara birds, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about the UAE’s conservation efforts to save the species from extinction. Other traditional animal activities will include Saluki dogs display, a falconry demonstration, the chance to see the local camels, and watching and taking part in activities such as camel milking and riding.
Workshops include Kandoora dying, Burqa making, palm weaving (Khoos), traditional Arabic coffee (Gahwa) making, and Henna and Dukhoun preparation and use. All workshops take place in the Bedouin Tent in the desert area.
The emphasis in this area is on Abu Dhabi’s historic links with fishing and pearling. Visitors can watch numerous demonstrations including Shasha building, paddle making, sail making, dhow building, fishnet making, fish trap making (Al Gargour) and fish salting. Visitors can also learn the traditional and correct method of oyster opening, and walk through a pearling exhibition, to learn interesting facts about this historic industry and see relics of this important practise.
Visitors can register to take part in workshops to actively learn how to make fishnets and fish traps.
The Oasis focuses on the Emirate’s natural wonders and environmental awareness. A Healing Garden, which has been set up with the support of the Environment Agency, will enable guests to walk among desert plants, and learn about their medicinal properties in ointments and herbal remedies.
Activities include palm weaving, tree climbing (Al Khallab) and rope making, and visitors will be able to learn more about dates, a source of nutrition and sustenance to the men and women of the UAE for centuries. Visitors will also be able to see animals including goats and Hawksbills yearling turtles.
There are also a number of workshops being held in the Cultural Foundation, including traditional handicrafts, clothing, toys and pottery. The Cultural Foundation will also house ‘Gahwa’, a contemporary Emirati café concept where guests can enjoy gahwa, or Emirati coffee, in a uniquely designed environment reflecting Emirati culture.
Qasr al Hosn Festival is an annual historic and cultural celebration that will welcome thousands of visitors following its successful first edition last year. The event is held on the grounds of Qasr al Hosn and celebrates the history of the fort and many centuries of Emirati culture and tradition.
The UAE community and visitors will experience both the tangible and intangible heritage of the Emirate through a wide range of activities at the grounds of Qasr al Hosn. This will present the fort in historical context, putting Qasr al Hosn on the cultural map and into the cultural life of Abu Dhabi today.
For more information about Qasr al Hosn Festival, please visit www.qasralhosnfestival.ae .