The annual fest is organised to showcase the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s national heritage to the world
The Janadriyah Festival, an annually celebrated heritage festival near Saudi Arabia’s largest capital city Riyadh, runs for a period of two weeks. The festival’s popularity is determined by the massive audience it attracts from all over the globe; the last one saw over one million visitors with a thirst for the Kingdom’s history. The festival is organised every year by Saudi Arabia’s National Guard in an effort to preserve the Kingdom’s national heritage and project the country’s glorious image locally and internationally.
Horse and camel racing are one of the main highlights of the Janadriyah Festival. Each year, riders prepare some of the finest breed of Arabian horses from all over the Kingdom and gather to compete for the prize money of the King’s Cup and the Crown Prince’s Cup.
Likewise, camel racing has also been a longpreserved heritage and a popular recreational sport in Saudi Arabia. The camel races entice a rather massive crowd of spectators at the festival, because unlike horse racing, camel racing are very unusual means of entertainment.
The Janadriyah operetta is a significant part of the festival’s schedule, which shows off the Kingdom’s long heritage of poetry and literature through folklore plays. The famous Saudi folk dance called Al-Ardah is performed during the opening of the festival, which is usually joined by the custodian of the two holy mosques and other leaders. The sword dance and music played on old Arabian instruments such as the Rababa continues to entertain visitors till midnight. Visitors are also taken on a walkthrough of old methods of teaching in classrooms used by their Arabian ancestors. The richness of Arabian culture is also portrayed through the traditional art and crafts displayed at the festival’s handicraft market, offering visitors and tourists a chance to see some of the finest craftsmen at work. These include pottery, weaving, woodwork, metalwork and leatherwork.
At Al Janadriyah, visitors also witness an art gallery displaying some of the finest art work, sculpture art, Arabic calligraphy, digital art and photography; all depicting the Bedouin days of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom also boasts of its rich food heritage by the diverse tastes and authentic cuisines of different regions and provinces, at the festival.
Other highlights of the heritage festival include several pavilions run by government and private firms, exhibiting their own products and services while offering visitors discounts and prizes. These pavilions also allow visitors a chance to tour and engage in seminars conducted by the firms.
By: Fadia Jiffry