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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

This year's Mother of the Nation festival promises art, history and fun

A myriad of live shows will be held in between organised group games and pit stops at this year’s “environmental food wing”

Climbing frames, vertical drops and a zip line that soars over the capital’s Corniche are some of the activities on offer at this year’s Mother of the Nation Festival.

The ten-day festival, in its third year, is expected to attract adrenalin junkies, entertainment enthusiasts and knowledge-seekers alike when it opens on Thursday at Abu Dhabi’s new beachside development, A’l Bahar.

A myriad of live shows will be held in between organised group games and pit stops at this year’s “environmental food wing”, where food made with locally grown produce will be on offer.

A museum-like pavilion will celebrate Emirati women’s creativity across the ages and display some of their treasures.

Among such them are a large, intricate gold necklace called the ‘Zayed Medal’, which was given to the mother of the nation, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa on Mother’s Day in 2016.

Elsewhere on display is a burqaa studded with gold stones.

"Some of the gold is missing because there is a cute story behind this burqaa," explained Salama Al Shamsi, senior project manager at Zayed National Museum.

Its owner, Fatima Bint Mohamed bin Thani, was wearing it one day as she rode to her farm. Her driver stopped her to tell her that his wife had just given birth to a baby girl.

"She did not have anything on her to give him as a gift, so she ripped off some of the gold on the burqaa and gave it to him."

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Also on display is a pair of traditional gold earrings, known as ghawashi locally, that was given to the woman who helped Sheikha Fatima give birth to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

In another zone, of which there are six, visitors can learn about traditional Emirati healing food and how women would consume it to become stronger before and after giving birth.

Emirati women’s intellect will also be highlighted in the art, poetry and wisdom section. The grandmother’s corner displays stories shared by a grandmother in a book on life in the UAE between the 1930s and 1960s.

In the ‘Scents from Past’ area, visitors will learn about important historical scents "and how we are using them today," said Miss Al Shamsi.

A perfume that was given Maryam Al Tayer in 1980 by her husband, before they got married, is among the items on display. The bottle still contains the original perfume. Visitors will be able to listen to poems that refer to specific aromas and then smell those scents at the end of the corridor.

The festival, named after Sheikha Fatima, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, runs until March 31.

Afterwards the A'l Bahar project, which includes an outdoor gym, an on-water obstacle course and tree houses where children can learn to paint, will remain permanently open.

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