The Sharjah Heritage Days (SHD) raised the curtain on Saturday, promising the Emirati public a rich and vibrant showcase of the unique customs and traditions of 29 nations around the world.
Over the next three weeks, the 18th edition of SHD will run its course in the heritage area of Heart of Sharjah, introducing UAE residents and visitors to the historical, cultural, literary, artistic and customary elements that define the sociocultural fabric of the UAE as well as of 29 countries participating in the event.
Themed “Cultural heritage gathers us,” this edition of SHD hosts Montenegro as the guest of honor, and Kazakhstan as the distinguished guest.
On the inaugural day, visitors immersed in spectacular sights and sounds of the venue, adorned with the national flags of participating countries, while the main courtyards at Heart of Sharjah came alive with colorful performances of traditional Emirati Ayyala and Andima arts and dances, in addition to folk shows from Belarus, Kazakhstan, India and Lebanon.
Other participating nations include Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Macedonia, Bashkortostan, Tajikistan, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Maldives, Yemen, Egypt, Italy, Spain, France, Sudan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Algeria, Syria, Kenya, Tunisia, Netherlands, Mauritania, Iraq, and India.
An introductory tour of the festival was led by Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Musallam, chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and chairman of the higher committee of SHD, during which he highlighted the various activities and offerings of the festival, in the presence of high-level delegations and country representatives.
Al-Musallam said: “This year, Sharjah Heritage Days is being held under exceptional circumstances. The festival’s theme ‘Cultural heritage gathers us’ seeks to emphasize that heritage is a bridge between peoples and plays an especially vital role in shaping the intellects and experiences of younger generations as they forge their way into the future.”
Traditional Arab heritage will be showcased through 22 activities, including seminars and workshops. The cultural agenda will also feature 67 crafts inspired by the UAE’s four diverse natural environments: The mountains, desert, coastal and agriculture.
Of the 80 stores on site, traditional products such as fragrances and incenses and Emirati costumes will be showcased. Cuisines represented at the festival include Emirati, regional and international dishes.
Meanwhile, the Emirates Handicrafts Center will showcase 24 handicrafts by the participating women’s associations.
Visitor entry is limited to 3,000 on weekdays and 6,000 during the weekend.