Dubai: The UAE’s communal harmony and tolerance bloomed in many hues on Friday as thousands of residents attempted to form the world’s largest natural flower carpet in Dubai’s Festival City.
Titled “Flowers of Tolerance,” the mammoth flower carpet showcased major landmarks and heritage of the UAE and participants’ countries and symbols of the Year of Tolerance.
It was rolled out in the outdoor parking area of Dubai Festival City as part of the National Festival of Tolerance and Human Fraternity.
A whopping 50 tonnes of imported flowers in seven colours, representing the seven emirates, were said to have been used to make the 100,000 square foot flower carpet.
From young children to grandparents, the volunteers in small groups were seen enthusiastically assembling and laying out flower petals on to umpteen numbers of small designs drawn on the ground to form the mammoth flower carpet.
Jordanian couple Ashraf Hammad and Baraa Isam, who got married in the UAE, said they came from Abu Dhabi to take part in the event after they got to know about it through the mall’s email.
“We saw many nationalities...Indian, Pakistanis, Arabs and some Europeans. It is a very nice experience,” said Ashraf, a graphic designer.
“There are many flowers of different colours. I’m very excited to see the final picture,” said Baraa.
Eman Mustafa Mohammad, a teacher from Al Ebdaa School, came along with her Arab students and their parents.
An Emirati mother among them, who did not wish to be named, said: “We are here to volunteer and cheer for the Flowers of Tolerance. We welcome people of all nationalities here in our country to be part our development. We are celebrating the unity and success of all those people here.”
All Kerala Colleges Alumni Forum (AKCAF) Events and and Globerz Entertainments organised the event for the Ministry of Tolerance.
Anoop Anil Devan, general convener of the event, said the carpet took up an area bigger than two football grounds and aimed to beat the previous Guinness Record for the largest flower petal carpet (nearly 43,000 square foot) previously laid out in Italy in 2016.
A vast majority of the participants were from the south Indian state of Kerala where making a flower carpet is an integral part of the celebrations of the Onam festival.
Niya Sreenivasan, a grade 10 student hailing from Kerala said she was excited to participate along with her parents, neighbours and friends.
”We usually make a small flower carpet known as pookkalam for Onam at our homes. This is going to be the largest pookkalam in the world. Being a foreigner, it is really exciting to be here because the government here is doing something like this and making us a part of it.”
According to Afra Al Sabri, director general of the Ministry of Tolerance Office, the flower carpet will be on display for residents and tourists until Sunday.
A tolerance parade was also held at the site late on Friday featuring people wearing ethnic dresses from different countries.