The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) is organizing the fifth session of the Dhafra Festival in Zayed City in December 17 to 28, 2011 in Al Gharbia (the Western Region) in Abu Dhabi Emirate.
The Organising Committee said that the festival involves several heritage activities, at the forefront of which are the camel beauty contest, the Al-Hallab (milky camel) contest, falconry contest, saluki competition (the Arab greyhound), the date packaging contest, the Nabati poetry contest, the photography contest, and the cooking contest. These contests are provided in addition to multiple heritage events dedicated to children and school students. There will be a market for traditional Emirati industries which will include 160 specialist shops for female Emirati citizens.
A heritage camel race will be held December 23. The race consists of three rounds for Emiratis and another three for citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) aged over 18 years old. The contestants must be physically fit and wear protection gear and a helmet.
The registration to the race is available between December 17 and 23. The distance of the race is as follows: 3000 metres for 18-35 years old participants, 2000 metres for 36-49 and 1200 metres for 50-70.
Falconry contests with falcons bred in captivity will be held for the first time. The competition consists of two rounds: the first round for the
Gyr Saker category, and the second round for the Gyr Shaheen. The falconry competition will be held in the framework of the Festival’s strategy which is aimed at preserving heritage and promoting sustainable hunting through the use of hybrid falcons as sufficient alternatives to the wild ones and thus ensuring the continuation and survival of this type in nature.
The Festival will witness the unique heritage saluki races which consist of five qualifying rounds. The first three salukis will be chosen from each round in order to take part in the official challenge round (15 qualifiers) while the fourth, fifth and sixth salukis of every round will be taking part in the secondary challenge round (15 racers).
The Festival’s fifth session carries many changes and surprises, including the increase of the rounds of the Dhafra beauty contest to more than 50 rounds (the registration ends December 12 for all rounds). The increase is due to the expectation that more competitors will be attracted to the fifth session given the unique position the Festival now occupies in the GCC countries.
The Dhafra Festival rounds will be added (4 rounds of the local Asayel for tribes and sheikhs) as every competitor will be allowed to participate with six of Mifrada, Haqa, Liqya, Jathaa, Thanya, and Hayel categories. In addition, there will be two rounds available for Al Bayraq (the flag) of the Asayel and Majahim categories (participation with 50 camels beginning from four years upwards). A prize money of one million UAE dirhams will go to each winner of these two rounds.
There will be also a Mahalib (milky) competition which includes a round for Asayel and another for Mahajim. The registration is open until December 10 and the race date will be held December 13-15 just before the start of the Festival. The competition seeks to choose the milkiest camel. It also aims to draw attention to this aspect and encourage camel owners to acquire the milky camels as camel milk is considered as one of the camel’s most important food products, which has many health benefits.