Ithra marks Eid Al-Fitr with parade in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province

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Ithra marks Eid Al Fitr in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province with celebratory parade. (Supplied)
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Ithra marks Eid Al Fitr in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province with celebratory parade. (Supplied)
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Ithra marks Eid Al Fitr in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province with celebratory parade. (Supplied)
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Ithra marks Eid Al Fitr in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province with celebratory parade. (Supplied)
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Ithra marks Eid Al Fitr in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province with celebratory parade. (Supplied)
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Ithra marks Eid Al Fitr in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province with celebratory parade. (Supplied)
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Ithra marks Eid Al Fitr in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province with celebratory parade. (Supplied)
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Updated 24 May 2020

Ithra marks Eid Al-Fitr with parade in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province

  • Many events on the Saudi calendar have been either canceled or postponed

RIYADH: The King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is marking the festive season this year with a parade passing through different cities in the Eastern Province that people can watch from their homes.
As the Eid celebration coincides with a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, many events on the Saudi calendar have been either canceled or postponed.
“In a time of social distancing, the initiative offers the public comfort, a sense of unity and remote enjoyment from the comfort of their own homes,” an Ithra spokesperson told Arab News.
The celebratory parade features wagons adorned with elements demonstrating Eastern Province’s culture as it passes through neighborhoods in Alkhobar, Dhahran and Dammam during its six-hour duration, from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.
The three-day parade started on the first day of Eid, Sunday, in Alkhobar — and will continue on Monday in Dammam and Tuesday in Dhahran, the spokesperson said.
As Saudis are staying at home this Eid, Ithra advises people to view the parade from their windows while the performers cheer and greet them with colorful lights and music.
The program includes a candy wagon with performers — four cheerful mascots with colorful costumes, smiling and waving at the audience.
There will also be an Ardha (traditional Saudi dance) Wagon with eight performers from the Saudi National Ardha group.
The parade includes a Theatre Wagon offering solo, duo and band performances of Sharqi style (Eastern Province music) with a western twist.
The Fisherman Wagon is also part of the diverse program, consisting of five members performing the fishermen arch show atop a carnival float. The show represents an old tradition where locals used boats for pearl diving before the discovery of oil in the Eastern Province. The performers will sing traditional songs for their audience.
The parade’s route passes through Al-Olaya, Al-Aqrabiya, Al-Heza Alakhdar Al-Hizam Thahabi, Corniche, Al-Rawabi, Al-Raka and Al-Jesr neighborhoods in Alkhobar.
In Dammam, the parade covers Al-Fakhriya, Al-Faisaliyah, Al-Jameyen, Abdullah Fouad, Al-Tabeshi, Al-Mazroeya, Al-Shate, Al-Hamra and Al-Mohamdiya.
Residents in Dhahran should stay tuned in the following neighborhoods: Rabiyah, Aramco Camp, Al-Jamaa, Danah, Dawhah North, Dawhah South and Telal Dawha and Qusoor.
For those whose neighborhoods are not covered, Ithra promises a live streaming of the celebratory parade.


$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

Updated 06 July 2020

$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

  • Saudi capital’s planning chief unveils ambitious strategy ahead of G20 urban development summit

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is launching a SR3 trillion ($800 billion) plan to double the size of Riyadh in the next decade and transform it into an economic, social and cultural hub for the region.

The ambitious strategy for the capital city was unveiled by Fahd Al-Rasheed, president of the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh, ahead of key meetings of the U20, the arm of the G20 leaders’ summit that deals with urban development and strategy.

“Riyadh is already a very important economic engine for the Kingdom, and although it’s already very successful, the plan now, under Vision 2030, is to actually take that way further, to double the population to 15 million people,” he told Arab News.

“We’ve already launched 18 megaprojects in the city, worth over SR1 trillion, over $250 billion, to both improve livability and deliver much higher economic growth so we can create jobs and double the population in 10 years. It’s a significant plan and the whole city is working to make sure this happens.”

About $250 billion in investment is expected from the private sector, with the same amount generated by increased economic activity from population growth, finance and banking, cultural and desert tourism, and leisure events.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 18 megaprojects have already been launched worth over $250 billion.
  • 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years.
  • King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London.

“We must also ensure the growth is managed properly, so there will be a focus on transport and logistics, including the Riyadh metro which will open at the beginning of next year. The aim is to increase productivity,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plan involves the creation of a “mega industrial zone” focusing on advanced technology such as renewables and automation, and biotechnology and aquaponics. Another key feature is sustainability, with energy conservation, the circular carbon economy with its emphasis on reducing emissions, and water management, all priorities.

“You will see 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years, and King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London,” Al-Rasheed said.

The city also aims to be a Middle East artistic and cultural hub. An opera house is being considered, as well as public art shows with 1,000 works commissioned from around the world. “We have not seen anything like it since Renaissance Florence,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plans will be discussed this week during online meetings of the U20 linking Riyadh with Houston. The Texas oil capital is suffering a new spike in coronavirus cases and pandemics will be on the agenda. “We want to deal with this one, but also be ready for the next one,” Al-Rasheed said.