Sharjah: Around 63,000 people have visited Sharjah Heritage Days (SHD) in its first two weeks, organisers said on Saturday.
SHD showcases the customs and traditions of the UAE and 29 nations until April 10 in Heart of Sharjah historic district, and in the city of Khor Fakkan until April 3. As the 18th edition of SHD crossed its halfway mark, visitors have partaken in the festival’s 500-plus activities and events.
On behalf of the festival organisers, Dr Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and Chairman of the Higher Committee of Sharjah Heritage Days, said: “The heartening footfall to our festival thus far is a clear indication that heritage is a rich and interesting subject to all segments of community, and has the potential to be a key driver in the culture and tourism sectors. The number also testify to the amount of trust the public has in the precautionary measures in place at SHD to curb the spread of COVID-19.”
Arabian Heritage House
An interesting feature of SHD is the Arabian Heritage House near the main stage area of the festival. Done up in bright pastel colours, designs, motifs and decor elements from around the Arab region, it offers the perfect photo backdrop from every angle!
The house has featured at the SHD for the last five years. “This year, we decided to try something new. Every year, we featured a specific region from the Arab world, like the Nabataean city of Petra in Jordan or Babylon in Iraq, to give visitors an insight into the ancient cultures of the broader region,” says Mohammed Ghobashi, an artist, actor and theatre director based in the UAE, who is managing the house. “This year, however, we decided to blend different aspects of Arab world aesthetics to present a pleasing venue where visitors can just step in, relax and get a feel of being at home yet travelling at the same time.”
The house thus features a gamut of colourful tiles from Morocco, a fountain from Syria, traditional doors from Egypt, wind towers or ‘barajeel’ from the UAE, several ornamental elements from Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen and more. A TV set up in the area, meanwhile, screens informative presentations and slide shows about the Arab region.
Special Yemeni dish
Also, as Ramadan nears, visitors were treated to a display of ‘zurbian’, a special-occasion Yemeni rice dish traditionally served to mark celebratory events like weddings or welcome guests during Iftar and Eid.
Heavily influenced by the Deccan traditions of India, Essam Nasir Aldanmi — a poet with a deep passion for cooking, and an executive at the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, is demonstrating how the dish is prepared. “Seven spices including turmeric and coriander are mixed together in a ratio that is often a family-held secret, and it is this traditional blend that guarantees the authentic flavour of ‘zurbian’,” he says.
The organising committee continues to work on its plan for daily and continuous sterilisation of all the activity locations. The children’s workshops areas undergo sterilisation after each activity. Visitor entry is limited to 3,000 on weekdays and to 6,000 on weekends.