Abu Dhabi: Despite the increasingly high temperatures that are a hallmark of the summer months, visitors and participants converged onto the sixth annual Liwa Date Festival, where they had a chance to not only learn about each other's cultures, but sample some delicious dates as well.
"My family visited the festival last year and they had a lot of fun. They not only learnt a lot about the Emirati culture and how important palm trees and dates are to them, but also had a chance to sample some as well," Sarah Khoury, a Lebanese expatriate said.
"My parents loved the dates so much, they actually bought several kilogrammes… some were given out as gifts and some we kept for ourselves," she added.
The festival is held under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and is organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach).
"I saw the advertisements about the festival and thought it would be interesting to see what was being offered… my friends and I visited the Al Dhafrah Camel Festival [earlier] this year as well for the first time.
"While both are very far, we're glad that we took the festival bus, which saved us [from] the hassle of driving!" Grace Macadangal, a Filipina expatriate said.
"So far, we have seen some of the traditional Emirati souq area as well as the heritage section. I can't wait to start trying out all the dates… they look delicious," she added.
For Aisha Saeed Al Hameri, the festival is a great way for Emirati families and neighbours to not only see each other and showcase their heritage, but to try and foster interest among younger Emiratis so that their traditions and heritage are preserved.
"This is the first time that I have participated but this is the third time that my family is participating in the Liwa Date Festival.
"I'm very happy that they are continuing to organise it… we all live very far away from each other and this event is a wonderful way to bring us all together and celebrate our heritage.
"Nowadays, our young people are too concerned with material things and I'm worried that they are losing interest in our traditions. I hope more events like this are organised so that they can still be passionate about our history," Aisha said.
Get your dates
- What: Liwa Date Festival
- When: July 17 to July 26
- Time: 10am - 10pm
- Travel: Buses leave from Abu Dhabi Mall and Marina Mall at 9am. There are no other scheduled buses.
- Information: For schedules and further information, please contact 02-6576094 or visit www.liwadatesfestival.ae or http://www.adach.ae/en/