Madinah to start traditional festival

Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman is given water from a traditional water urn. (SPA)

Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman is given water from a traditional water urn. (SPA)

Madinah’s traditional forum kicks off on Thursday with camel races, poetry readings and the ancient tradition of lighting fires to welcome guests.

“Narkom Haiyah” or “Your Fire is Alive,” is the second such event being held in the region. It takes place from Oct. 28 to 30 in Al-Swaydrah, 50 km east of the city, under the patronage of Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman.

Guests and visitors are expected from across the Kingdom and Gulf countries. Abdullah Al-Suhaimi, chairman of the organizing committee, said all preparations are in place for the three-day event. It starts in the afternoon with a display of camel riding and games of ancient times.

One of the traditional events is a fire-lighting competition for 40 young men under the age of 20. The lighting of fires has in the past been a welcoming gesture for guests, symbolizing the generosity of Arabs. The young men also have to make and serve coffee. A committee of elders will evaluate the contestants. There were 1,000 candidates vying to compete in the competition.

Al-Suhaimi said storyteller Muhammad Al-Sharhan and poet Ahmed Al-Qarawi would entertain the audience with stories of the heroic deeds of the region’s forefathers, after Maghrib prayer.

Nasser Al-Rajeh will oversee the poetry evening at 8 p.m. Lafi Al-Ghaidani, Abdullah Zoubin, Jaza Al-Buqami, Abdul Rahman Badie, Fahd Al-Shahrani, are some of the poets who will participate. Traditional tent making, souk and auctioning will also take place. Notable events on the second day will be falcon hunting, horseracing and traditional games.

The most exciting contests will take place on the third day between the owners of race camels from the Kingdom and Gulf countries. The main winners will be awarded the Madinah Emirate Cup and expensive cars. Al-Suhaimi said previously that the forum aims to protect Saudi heritage by ensuring that young people understand and have a connection to the past.

Al-Suhaimi said tour operators would be organizing trips to and from Madinah for tourists, who will be able to visit various ancient sites in the area. He praised the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities for its efforts to promote tourism in the region and the country.


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