Organized by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA, Abu Dhabi) from 15 to 29 December, 2012, under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Festival celebrates the UAE’s authentic heritage and culture and plays a significant role in the consolidation and preservation of indigenous heritage and traditions.
The 14-day event has become a world cultural and heritage gathering that won praise from participants, visitors and tourists.
Participants hailed the efforts made during the Festival which aimed at giving a civilized image about the heritage events. They described the official site of Al Dhafra Festival as one that brought together all the references to Bedouin and ancient history with contemporary and advanced means in the sectors of service and organization.
Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouie, member of TCA’s board and head of the Festival’s organising committee, said support and care lent to the festival by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan had secured resounding success of the regional and international heritage event and its quest to revive and safeguard legacy of fathers and forefathers and promote it internationally.
”The Dhafra Festival has proven its success and appeal year after year,” he added.
He also thanked H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region, for his support to the Festival and his frequent visits to the festival activities and interacting with participants.
The Festival aims to preserve purebred Asayel and Majahim camels, introduce Bedouin culture and activate heritage tourism, position Al Dhafra in Al Gharbia on the international tourism map and to stimulate the economic activity in Al Gharbia and create a market for selling and buying camels.
Organisers lined up slew of attractive activities including Mazayn Al Dhafra (Camel Beauty Contest), heritage camel race camel milking competition (Mahaleb), falcon competition, saluki competition, camel auction, photography contest, heritage market and children’s village.
A traditional market was staged to promote different Emirati handicrafts and to offer a glimpse into the Bedouin history of the UAE, and the Gulf region.
The Festival tells about how camels constitute a source of livelihood and food, and a means of transport. It also tells about the palm trees and their benefits. The palm trees do not only give dates as a starter that precedes the main meal for Bedouins, but also provide their leaves as essential materials for building and furnishing homes.