Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tahnoon bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in Al Ain Region, the Traditional Handicrafts Festival organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT-Abu Dhabi), will take place from 1-20 November 2023 at Souq Al Qattara, Al Ain, to showcase Emirati cultural heritage and craftsmanship. Taking place for the ninth year, the festival will be held under the theme Crafts of the Ancestors, Pride of the People.
The festival features a diverse programme of live demonstrations, activities, workshops and performances celebrating and promoting traditional handicrafts, and highlighting talented practitioners from across the UAE.
His Excellency Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “The Traditional Handicrafts Festival is a vital platform to showcase our rich Emirati cultural heritage and preserves the integrity of our unique traditions. It is also key to DCT-Abu Dhabi’s mission to preserve and disseminate our traditional Emirati heritage and ensure that the vast wealth of knowledge and skills possessed by our craftspeople are passed down to younger generations. Additionally, the event supports practitioners by facilitating new professional and creative opportunities, providing the tools and reach required to build a thriving career in the heritage field.”
Throughout the festival, visitors will enjoy live craft demonstrations which showcase the traditional tools and methods used to make the array of skilled and unique Emirati handicrafts. Also on offer are appearances by folk bands and traditional singers, dance showcases such as Al Ayyala, interactive heritage and cultural programmes, contests, falconry shows, and the Souq, selling a variety of traditional crafts, clothing and culinary experiences.
The festival will host four special music concerts as part of the Memory of the Emirati Song series featuring performances by Mohammed Al Menhali, Hazzaa Al Raeesy, Abdel Moneim Al Ameri and Rikia Magha.
In addition to the general promotion of traditional crafts, the festival works closely with families who work in the industry, providing support and helping them to adapt to the demands of the modern consumer market. With more than 100 families taking part, the festival aims to increase their income through marketing efforts, while encouraging them to innovate with their products and business models.
The Traditional Handicrafts Festival was established to introduce new audiences to the traditional crafts and industries of the UAE, and actively promotes and supports their practitioners. Through its nurturing of the industry, it helps to preserve these invaluable facets of Emirati identity, ensuring that the skills and knowledge associated with heritage crafts are preserved and passed down to future generations.
The Traditional Handicrafts Festival will be open from 9am-1pm and 4pm-11pm daily and entry is free of charge.