Abu Dhabi: 5 authentic Emirati experiences to enjoy at Al Hosn Festival this year

The celebration runs from January 13 to 22, and allows visitors to catch traditional Al Rafza performances, taste local cuisine, and more


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Supplied photos
Supplied photos

Published: Sun 15 Jan 2023, 1:21 PM

Al Hosn Festival, Abu Dhabi’s celebration of Emirati cultural heritage, returns with a packed ten-day programme taking place from January 13 to 22 at the iconic Al Hosn site.

Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the event celebrates traditional Emirati craftsmanship and culture. The ten-day programme boasts a line-up of cultural performances, film screenings, art installations, craft and design demonstrations, creative workshops, retail pop-ups, and a variety of culinary experiences.

Set across Al Hosn’s historic buildings and outdoor areas, the event showcases Abu Dhabi’s heritage with an exciting array of activities for visitors of all ages.

From the opportunity to wear an authentic Emirati costume to participating in the celebrations of a traditional Emirati wedding, sampling freshly made local dishes from a live kitchen station to immersing yourself in artistic, musical and dance culture through exciting audio-visual performances for young and old, Al Hosn Festival takes its visitors into a world of Emirati heritage, hospitality and culture.

Here are five events you don’t want to miss at Al Hosn Festival this January:

1. Catch Al Razfa performances

Get swept up in the rhythm of the famous Al Razfa performances, a mesmeric blend of poetry, dance, music and chant that has been passed down through families and communities through the centuries. Youth bands and expert poets will share their traditional skills with performances every night. You’re also welcome to bring your sticks and join the dances, too.

2. Experience a traditional Emirati wedding

Every night, visitors are taken into the world of a traditional Emirati wedding. In this spectacular presentation, watch as the whole village comes together to celebrate, with joyous performances.

Witness the different scenes that go into preparing for an Emirati wedding including tying the knot, the bridal shower, the wedding feast, the wedding and others.

3. Grab a bite at The Kitchen

Taste the most delicious local cuisine, cooked in traditional pots, in an authentic Abu Dhabi kitchen, and enjoy the hospitality of a meal with the Emirati people at The Kitchen. These sample-sized portions include traditional tanoor, harees and thareed, dry and salted fish with rice and others.

4. Hang out at Darb Al Zain Fashion Trail and its women-only majlis

In this rare opportunity, go shopping for a full Emirati costume – or just the beautiful accessories – and learn how to wear it in the traditional way, as part of the community. A unique experience and souvenir of your visit. Located within The House of Artisans, female visitors are also invited to hang out at Majlis Al Zain, the women-only majlis, whether to experience the Darb El Zein fashion trail or just enjoy a coffee, some dates and Emirati hospitality.

5. Experience artisanal demonstrations at Al Freej

Make sure to stop by Al Freej, where there will be a variety of fascinating traditional experiences and artisanal demonstrations - an excellent opportunity to walk through a typical Abu Dhabi traditional village and its souks. Activities include dukhoun and textile dyeing, pottery making, burga making, palm weaving and driving, fishnet making and others.

For more details about the festival, tickets, and the programme, please visit: www.alhosnfestival.ae.


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