x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Time Frame: Sheikh Zayed dances at the end of Ramadan in Al Ain

The Founding Father of the UAE celebrates after ending his Ramadan fast in this moment captured on film about 50 years ago.

Courtesy of BP.
Courtesy of BP.

"Zayed leaving dancing after Ramadan" is the rather sparse caption on this image. It comes from the archives of BP and from a selection taken between 1953 and 1963.

We know that during this time, Sheikh Zayed was in Al Ain, where he was the Ruler's Representative in the Eastern Region from 1946 to 1966.

The photograph must have been taken in Al Ain, with the city's greenery shown in the backdrop of trees.

As for the dance, it is probably Al Yola, performed on special occasions such as this, with the performers waving camel sticks that, in those days, were probably still being put to practical use.

There is one further clue in the row of vehicles behind the assembled dancers. To the far left is a Land Rover, too obscured to identify whether it is a Series I, or a Series II, introduced in 1958.

Sheikh Zayed owned a number of such vehicles. The pickup truck next to it, though, can be identified. It was made by GMC, with this model dating from 1960.

This Ramadan, then, marks a time of change, when men still brandished rifles and wore the khanjar but were increasingly exchanging the camel for the pickup truck.

Time Frame is a series that opens a window into the nation's past. Readers are invited to make contributions to yourpics@thenational.ae