Holy month shopping: Incense a must

Updated 26 July 2013
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Holy month shopping: Incense a must

A staggering SR1 billion of incense sticks is sold during Ramadan in the Kingdom, according to a local trader.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest importers of incense and oud. Incense is imported in large quantities from Southeast Asia, particularly India and Cambodia. Trading in incense in the Kingdom is generally active all year round, but for Ramadan and the two Eids, there is a massive increase. Besides Ramadan, incense is used extensively during family events such as weddings.
Ibrahim Al-Qurashi, one of the largest and well-known importers of incense in Saudi Arabia, said that oud and incense represents a sense of history and tradition for Saudis. “During Ramadan alone, sales of incense can go as high as SR1 billion. For many Saudis and Gulf citizens, and to a lesser degree other Arab communities who have been living long in the Kingdom, they are a must on their shopping lists for Ramadan and the Eids,” he said.
Asked about the high prices of incense, he said: “Incense comes from tall trees with thick foliage. They are hundreds of years old, and are found mostly in large forests in India and Cambodia, including Indonesia and Malaysia. These forests are home to poisonous snakes such as the cobra. You can’t really distinguish these snakes from the surrounding trees because they camouflage themselves with the colors around them. This makes it very dangerous for people to fell trees, which are later chopped into small pieces. And since these trees are very old and very tall, it makes it extremely difficult to chop down.”
“Another, no less important reason for the extraordinary high prices is that the government of India strictly prohibits cutting down trees and exporting wood overseas. But we are given special reservations within these forests, which we are licensed to cultivate by the Indian government,” he said, adding that this was the reason why Indian incense was the most expensive.
Salih Kassar, a seller of incense in Jeddah, says that in addition to oriental perfumes, Indian incense is the most popular in Ramadan. “Our sales in this holy month go up 100 percent. The best grades of Indian incense fetch very high prices, sometimes as high as SR150,000 a kilogram. The Cambodian variety is sold for SR60,000 a kilogram,” he added.


Riyadh Eid festivities draw more than 1.5 million visitors

Updated 51 min 22 sec ago
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Riyadh Eid festivities draw more than 1.5 million visitors

  • The diversity of events the municipality provided this year offered plenty of choice to the capital’s residents and visitors.
  • The garden of King Fahd Library which received visitors over the three days of Eid witnessed interactive and entertainment shows.

JEDDAH: Riyadh municipality Eid Al-Fitr activities attracted more than 1.5 million visitors, residents and citizens over the three-day holiday.
The diversity of events the municipality provided this year offered plenty of choice to the capital’s residents and visitors.
The municipality hosted 200 functions in 30 different locations across the city. It distributed thousands of presents, balloons and candy to children to encourage them to attend Eid prayers and to bring joy to their hearts.
Riyadh’s Eid festivities in Qasr AL-Hokm included the Saudi traditional folk-dance show, activities and competitions for children, as well as folk arts and poetry shows.
The garden of King Fahd Library which received visitors over the three days of Eid witnessed interactive and entertainment shows, as well as artistic activities and sports competitions.
Riyadh municipality organized five theater shows for men and women, including two for men: Shekka Wa Noss, and Tersam Al-Wahch; two plays for women: Banat Al-Social and Umm Suwaileh Al-Sawaqa, and an open play, Al-Qarya Al-Maghdoura.
Riyadh municipality also organized three theater shows for the blind and deaf.
“Al-Qarya Al-Maghdoura” (The Betrayed Village), the first open-theater show in the Kingdom, was held in the showroom of Al-Jazeera neighborhood. It was written, directed and played by Saudis.
The municipality allocated several events and locations for the participation of humanitarian organizations by receiving them and setting private seats for them, in coordination with the Saudi Association for Deaf.
It also organized a special program to entertain women and children over the three days of Eid. The events for women included plays, free drawing and coloring sessions, artifacts and competitions.
Carnival marches were launched in the north and west of Riyadh, by 300 cartoon characters and featured the participation of touring folk groups, along with a solidarity march with soldiers, as well as classic car shows.
The capital’s residents and visitors enjoyed fireworks that lasted 10 minutes and colored the sky of Riyadh at King Fahd International Stadium, a location near King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) and a location near Wadi Leban Bridge in west Riyadh.