The National Festival of Heritage and Culture in Janadriyah, which began last week, is a valuable opportunity to highlight the tangible and intangible elements of the Saudi cultural heritage on the international stage.
The festival is the largest event of its kind in the world and it attracts millions of lovers of heritage and ancestry from not only Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf region but also worldwide. Hundreds of local, Arab and international media organizations are covering the rich activities of the festival.
The festival reflects unique cultures, traditions and behavior from every region of the Kingdom, representing the many dialects and customs. This is both in the heritage of the regions, or through the folk market where the "Katateeb" (traditional schools), folk games and old tales all in a traditional setting reveal the simplicity and identity of society at the time.
The festival highlights the distinctiveness of the various areas of Saudi Arabia and their urban heritage through showing the identity of each region, as well as the heritage elements of handicrafts, folk dishes and museums.
The Folk Market
The Folk Market is a forum that reflects the great diversity in Saudi folklore. Shops and workshops were allocated for craftsmen from each region in the market, which has been the main focal point of the festival since its inception. At the Folk Market everything is displayed in a panoramic way preserving the depth and diversity of culture in one place.
The National Heritage and Culture Festival is keen to support craftsmen by choosing the handicrafts for each region according to special criteria and mechanisms. More than 300 handicrafts are scattered throughout the festival.
Al-Warraq is one of the handicrafts that have become extinct, and this year for the first time will be in the folk market, where the public will notice the artisans specialized in the binding of books and their preservation, using simple craft tools such as thread, needle, scissors and glue.
This year, women will participate in several activities aimed at handicrafts and productive families, as well as highlighting the role of people with special needs. There will also be professional courses for visitors.
The Traditional Farm was the main source of livelihood in the past and displayed will be the means of plowing and chanting that echoed from the farmers during their work.
On display will be an imitation of the mutawa (the traditional teacher) and his students, with a courtyard next to the school for old folk games.