Saudi Arabia hosts world’s largest date festival in Buraidah

Date farmers are expecting high sales figures during this year’s 45-day Buraidah Date Festival. (SPA)
Updated 08 August 2017

Saudi Arabia hosts world’s largest date festival in Buraidah

RIYADH: Qassim, which hosts the world’s largest date festival in Buraidah every year at this time, is swirling with activities, with date farmers expecting high sales figures during this year’s 45-day festival.
The festival, which is not simply an annual marketplace, but also a lifeline for thousands of farmers and youths who depend on the income generated from date farming, was launched in Buraidah on Saturday by the Qassim governorate.
Saudi Arabia has the highest number of the date palm trees in the world, roughly accounting for 25 percent of the world date production. The Qassim region alone has around 7 million date palm trees, the highest among all regions in the Kingdom.
Commenting on Buraidah Date Festival 2017, Khalid Al-Niqaidan, chief executive officer of the festival, said that integrated services that will be supportive to farmers, traders and consumers have been set up in one of the biggest economic gatherings in the world.
He added that quality-control teams have been assigned to ensure that date products are free from pesticides, fraud and other irregularities. Additionally, a guide office has been established to guide customers on the finest types of dates, while a tent was set aside to allow youths sell dates on a retail basis.
This year, the organizers introduced new functions and programs to attract the broad participation of families, children and youths. These programs include a number of activities related to dates, as well as social and cultural programs. There are informative and recreational sessions accompanying the festival, including an awareness program for youths to encourage them to enter the market.
The annual date festival is an important event to source products to be used for date derivatives including date syrup, date paste and date gifts boxes to be used for all occasions throughout the year.
The Ministry of Water, Environment and Agriculture encourages date farming, allocates land, helps farmers purchase farming equipment and provides farmers access to long-term loans through the Saudi Arabian Agricultural Bank.


Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Updated 30 May 2020

Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Hana Abdullah Alomair is the director of Netflix’s first Saudi thriller original series, titled “Whispers,” which is due to begin streaming in 190 countries on June 11. 

A Saudi writer, filmmaker, and movie critic, Alomair won the Silver Palm Tree Award for best script at the Saudi Film Competition in 2008.

She gained a bachelor’s degree in Arabic-English translation from King Saud University in 1992 and four years later a master’s degree in the same field of study from Heriot-Watt University, in Scotland.

Her documentary “Beyond Words” was screened during the Gulf Film Festival in 2019 and was selected for the main competition in this year’s Muscat International Film Festival.

A member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, she has worked as a head writer in writing workshops for several TV series. She was a jury member at the Saudi Film Festival held by Rotana in 2013. Her second
flick, “The Complaint,” was selected in the main competition of Tessa’s Festival for Asian and African Films in Morocco in 2014 and it won the Golden Palm
Tree Award for best short fiction film in the Saudi Film Competition in 2015.

In 2016, Alomair, together with Hind Al-Fahhad, scooped the prize for best script for the short film “Peddlers” at the King Fahd Center Short Film Competition.

She recently published a book about the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, and in 2017 wrote a play called “Qat Oqat.”

Last year, she wrote and directed her latest short film “Swan Song,” which won the Golden Palm Tree Award for best actor in the Saudi Film Festival.