Qasr Al Hosn festival shares local culture, traditions with visitors

Qasr Al Hosn festival shares local culture, traditions with visitors

The festival which is open seven hours daily, from 4pm till 11pm, offers guided tours of Qasr Al Hosn and an exhibition on the history of the fort.



By Silvia Radan - Reporter, Abu Dhabi

Published: Sat 14 Feb 2015, 11:47 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:26 PM

Abu Dhabi: Goats have always been part of the Emirati household, just as much as camels. When sacrificed, usually at major occasions like weddings, Eid or when important visitors arrived, all parts of the animal were used. Al saan was made from the lighter skin and was used for drinking water, while the tougher skin was used for making Al dawl, the bucket used for the water well and another part of the skin is used to make Al siqa a bottle-shaped vessel used for the preparation of butter and laban, while the wool was washed, spun and used for making sadu, or blankets, horse and camel harnesses and carpets.

Such information and more await visitors at Qasr Al Hosn festival.

The festival which began on Wednesday will continue until February 21. The organisers, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), have put together 58 learning experiences throughout the Oasis, Desert, Marine and Abu Dhabi Island zones that occupy the outdoor grounds of the festival, between the Cultural Foundation and Qasr Al Hosn itself.

“I’m really happy I came,” said Lara Leason from UK and five-year resident in Abu Dhabi. “The weather is beautiful and there are so many facts about the local culture and traditions shared throughout the festival. One of my favourite parts was walking through the desert garden of palm and ghaf trees and listening to the birds singing — well, most of them were recorded and played back through megaphones, but I think they were some real birds around, too!”

“Another favourite was watching the sunset while sipping some Arabic coffee made with saffron. I really recommend it,” she added.

Away from the storytellers, fishermen and pearl divers, away from the palm fronds weavers and the souk traders representing the four different zones, in a former quarter of the Cultural Foundation is the rather posh yet traditional looking Arabic coffee house.

The house serves several different types of Arabic coffee, each prepared with different spices, and it also demonstrates how to prepare the perfect brew, using traditional methods.

“In the Emirati home, even the richest meal would be incomplete without the qahwa,” said Sbaiah Al Kaabi, an expert of qahwa or Arabic coffee. It is usually prepared from freshly roasted coffee beans — lighter in the Western Region and darker in Eastern Al Ain. Mostly mixed with just cardamom, but occasionally saffron, ginger, cinnamon or cloves, the Arabic coffee never contains sugar, and hence it is often served with dates.

The festival which is open seven hours daily, from 4pm till 11pm, offers guided tours of Qasr Al Hosn and an exhibition on the history of the fort. There are also family workshops on Emirati traditions in the Cultural Foundation, in addition to Emirati music and shows.

More details are available on www.qasralhosnfestival.ae.

silvia@khaleejtimes.com


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