x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Residents flock to final night of the Qasr Al Hosn Festival

The hundreds of residents who came out for the last night of the heritage festival deemed the event a success.

Emiratis perform a traditional Emirati dance during the Qasr al Hosn festival. Sammy Dallal / The National
Emiratis perform a traditional Emirati dance during the Qasr al Hosn festival. Sammy Dallal / The National

ABU DHABI // Closing night was a busy affair on the grounds of the Qasr Al Hosn Festival, with residents from all walks of life hurrying in to catch a last glimpse of the festivities on Saturday.

Featuring aspects of Emirati culture and tradition as diverse as live music and dance, a bird show, pearling demonstrations, handcrafts and workshops, the display in the heart of the capital proved a big success with the hundreds of local residents and expatriates who visited.

“It is very nice and made us realise what we missed from the old days and how the old generation lived,” said G Al Neaimi, who was visiting with her mother and her younger sister, Wadeema. “I wish I had come earlier to see it.”

Hind Al Marar, 23, was also visiting for the first time, together with her four cousins.

“It is amazing how they managed to put all this together,” said Ms Al Marar’s cousin, Afra, 18, who also said she was proud of the way the festival presented local culture to outsiders.

“I think all the foreign visitors enjoyed it,” she said.

That sentiment was clearly expressed by Nambakkam Harindranath, an energy efficiency engineer from India, who was visiting with his wife, Narayana.

“It is a wonderful festival and gives us an opportunity to mingle with the local culture,” said the 52-year-old, who has been living in Abu Dhabi for five years.

Besides soaking up the culture, Mame Diop, 31, and her sister, Aisha, 29, originally from Senegal, also used the chance to try some authentic local food. The pair had just finished a plate of khameer, bread sweatened with honey and spices, a dish they said was delicious.

“Once you start picking, you cannot stop,” said the older of the two sisters, who works as a consultant in the capital.