Saudis urged to show their ‘authentic glam’ on Founding Day with traditional costumes

Special Saudi Arabia’s regional outfits are designed and created according to the materials available and fit the area’s climate and surrounding area. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Saudi Arabia’s regional outfits are designed and created according to the materials available and fit the area’s climate and surrounding area. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Short Url
Updated 22 February 2022

Saudis urged to show their ‘authentic glam’ on Founding Day with traditional costumes

Saudi Arabia’s regional outfits are designed and created according to the materials available and fit the area’s climate and surrounding area. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
  • GEA’s Turki Al-Sheikh offers free entry to two Riyadh Season zones for all those who dress up
  • Saudi Arabia has a rich history of diverse and colorful fashion when it comes to its traditional costumes

JEDDAH: People wearing traditional Founding Day costumes on Feb. 22 will gain free entry to two prominent Riyadh Season zones, as the country prepares to commemorate the establishment of the first Saudi state in 1727 by Imam Muhammad bin Saud.

The chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, Turki Al-Sheikh, tweeted last week: “On February 22, there will be free entry to #Riyadh_City Boulevard and #WinterWonderland for everyone who wears #FoundingDay clothing. We are waiting to see your authentic Saudi glam. #Riyadh_Season.”

There were positive reactions to his tweet.

One person (@ahmd_rl) said: “I am so excited to see everyone looking their best on the Founding Day at Riyadh City Boulevard,” while another (@saadss100) tweeted: “Appreciations for the brilliant idea Turki Al-Sheikh. This really reflects the authenticity and antiquity of our historical clothing and how proud we are.”

Al-Sheikh’s tweet followed a Feb. 15 Fashion Commission announcement about the 22 styles listed in the Saudi traditional costume guide on its website, which features clothing from the Kingdom’s five main regions for women, men, and children.

Saudi Arabia has a rich history of diverse and colorful fashion when it comes to its traditional costumes.

Each region has different tribes and each tribe has its own style, but only a few of those costumes are well-known as the rest have been forgotten due to the lack of proper documentation about them and tribal migration.

Nadia Alireza, a member of Mansoojat Foundation and one of the researchers of  "Traditional Costumes of Saudi Arabia,” previously told Arab News that the fashion people chose to wear was one way to identify who they were, the time they lived in, their social background, and where they were from.

Saudi Arabia’s regional outfits are designed and created according to the materials available and fit the area’s climate and surrounding area.

“There are many colors used in traditional Saudi costuming,” she said. “They used a lot of leather, metal and colored beads, and gold and silver thread for embroideries. In some cases, rubber from old tires is used to make footwear.”

The Founding Day fashion guide lists 22 styles of costumes as well as glamorous accessories, jewelry, shawls, bags, and sandals to go with each outfit.

The pieces and colors of each costume are carefully chosen and according to detailed research on the traditional fashions worn during the three previous centuries in the Arabian Peninsula’s regions.

Saudi Arabia is divided into 13 administrative regions, 46 cities, and five main regions.

The Fashion Commission tweeted: “Several factors affected traditional fashion in the Kingdom, each region has special characteristics that influence its costumes, and the surrounding environment also plays a role in the forms of inscriptions, material types, and colors. Traditional fashion, which is produced locally using the finest textiles and fabrics, is considered a major part of the Kingdom’s history.”

There are five types of agal, a key men’s accessory in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council region. The agal is a doubled-up black cord that is worn on top of the head and is traditionally made of goat hair, cotton, and golden thread.

Each region has tweaked the agal in its own way to reflect its individuality. In some areas it is thick, in other areas it is thin with golden clips.

Men in the eastern regions wear a two-piece outfit, a white thobe and an outer cloak known as a bisht. The same goes for men from the central region, but they call it a mroden and it is usually worn on special occasions. Men in the south wear the same piece and they call it a jabbah as it features a solid cloak without any golden trim.

There is also a piece of clothing called the sdiri and this is similar to a vest worn over the thobe by men of the western region. It has the same features of the bisht but is shorter.

Another piece worn over a thobe by men from the central and southern areas is called the daglah. It is made out of cotton or wool, sometimes leather, and has beautiful embroidery on the chest area made from copper, gold, silver, or cotton thread to add a glamorous touch as the costume is worn on formal occasions.

A leather belt is worn over thobes by men from the central and southern regions as an accessory. Some like to add a third belt around their waist with an ornamental dagger hung in the middle of it to reflect power and wealth.

Lailah Al-Bassam, a Saudi expert in traditional fashion and textile heritage, told Arab News: “The progress of nations can be measured through their heritage and traditional arts, and our country is characterized by a long history that extends back thousands of years. Our civilization and the many fields of our traditional arts are ramified.

“Our Saudi costumes are full of different elements that express our special taste in lifestyle practice, as well as what fits with our environment and stems from our customs and traditions.”

Dresses are an essential item in the Saudi woman’s wardrobe.

All the listed regions feature elegant but modest dresses in many colors and cuts, with names such as almohothal, alsidrah, alnashl, kurtah and almasdah. They come in brown, black, blue, red, pink, and beige. Women’s outfits have head coverings, and central region women wear a stylish face covering made from black fabric, drawing attention to the eyes.

Women from the central region used to have a very distinctive piece of jewelry for the head, chest, and waist called the hzam and hamah.

Al-Bassam said that fashion could be considered one of the most important heritage elements. 

“By reviewing what our ancestors left us with including the clothing heritage, distinguished by the richness of its colors, the simplicity of its lines, its modesty, and the splendor of artistic beauty that reaches a high degree of perfection and accuracy in work.

“Despite the primitiveness of tools and the lack of capabilities back then, it is important for us to preserve it and to use it as a source from which we derive our distinctive personality and our special character.

Preserving our traditional costumes help us to reach the ultimate level of authenticity and harmony with the ways of living in a developed society concerned with preserving its ancient traditions.”


Saudi nutritionist uses his weight loss journey to inspire others

The weight-loss milestones of 24-year-old Salam Farid Azam has been a motivation for many wishing to achieve their weight goal.
The weight-loss milestones of 24-year-old Salam Farid Azam has been a motivation for many wishing to achieve their weight goal.
Updated 3 min 59 sec ago

Saudi nutritionist uses his weight loss journey to inspire others

The weight-loss milestones of 24-year-old Salam Farid Azam has been a motivation for many wishing to achieve their weight goal.
  • Durham University graduate talks up need for Saudi culture not to conflate its famed generosity with food

RIYADH: Unhealthy food and fitness habits are on the rise among Saudi youth, and maintaining a healthy weight has become a concern.

The weight-loss milestones of 24-year-old Salam Farid Azam has been a motivation for many wishing to achieve their weight goal.

Azam’s priority is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He lost 25 kg through his balanced habits, which have been cultivated through his educational experience in human nutrition and behavioral science.

Now, he has a mission to help others bury their weakening cycles of poor habits.

FASTFACTS

• Salam Farid Azam’s priority is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He lost 25 kg through his balanced habits, which have been cultivated through his educational experience in human nutrition and behavioral science.

• Now, he has a mission to help others bury their weakening cycles of poor habits.

Azam created his consultation platform, Sehha W Salam, two months ago.

“Sehha W Salam is a platform that’s trying to improve the overall health of people in society through personal consultations tailored to them,” Azam told Arab News.

“Consultants will try to enhance the behaviors and nutrition of people who come. They will try to understand the issues people are struggling with,” he said.

Qualified consultants create an in-depth case study of clients’ issues. Nutritional meal plans, exercises, and a combination of behavioral consultations are then applied, with prices dependent on how complex a case is.

“I am a registered associate nutritionist from the Association of Nutrition in the UK. I might recruit more qualified people with both qualifications in behavioral science and nutrition,” he said.

“The most convenient way of reaching me is through Instagram which is @sehhawsalam. Consultations will be held virtually over any video meeting platforms, or we can do it by visiting each other.”

Azam started his journey in the UK after high school. He was inspired to study nutrition because he was overweight during his adolescence.

“I thought of studying nutrition because I used to be overweight (at) around 13 years old. I was suffering from it. It affected me in terms of confidence in myself, my general well-being, I was shy, I was not socializing in general. I thought ‘I need to make a decision because I am not who I am’,” he said.

“I stayed at home all the time and played PlayStation and video games. I used to eat a lot, all the time, and I was unaware of my health. I used to play center back, the defending position in football, from primary school until I was 14. My colleagues and football team members (then) told me I need to play as a goalkeeper — I am not giving a bad impression of being a goalkeeper, but it’s usually given to people who don’t give a good impression of running. I was feeling rejected,” he explained.

Website surfing and Instagram accounts with nutritional information were the first source of awareness for Azam’s weight loss, before expanding his passion for nutrition at university.

“I chose Kingston University. I did my bachelor’s of science in human nutrition, and I was one of the top students in (the) university,” he said.

Azam complemented his bachelor’s with a master’s degree in behavioral sciences at Durham, one of the UK’s leading universities.

“We learned a lot about behavioral aspects of psychology. Choice architecture is a concept that looks at whether items are on an eye-level,” he said. “Changing the position of these unhealthy food products affects people’s choices. They crave these foods when they see it.”

Losing weight was difficult at first for Azam, especially without surgical intervention. His focus on food quality, avoiding fast food, and exercising gave a positive turn in all aspects surrounding his life.

“After I lost weight, I couldn’t describe how comfortable I felt. I started socializing, anticipating. I became very confident in myself. I started joining societies, leading them, going into positions of trust, and all of that. Nutrition can help people achieve their best,” said Azam.

Generosity is a key component of Saudi culture, and Azam believes that generosity and showing appreciation should not always be correlated with food — gratitude can be expressed in many ways. Food for him is not always for pleasure, but instead, mostly for survival.

“Saudi society is generous and we conflate it with food. I see people providing a generous quantity of food to guests, and they are treating it as generosity, which isn’t always healthy,” he said.

“Today’s doll-like body standards can be dangerous,” he added.

Azam said he places an importance in a Hadith that translates as: “No man fills a container worse than his stomach. A few morsels that keep his back upright are sufficient for him. If he has to, then he should keep one-third for food, one-third for water and one-third for breathing.”

He greatly appreciates the Kingdom’s efforts in looking out for the health of people in Saudi Arabia.

“I am really glad I am helping my country. Saudi Arabia is doing a really great job at the moment, especially in the health field. I am very proud to be Saudi, and I also look forward to improving my community and taking pride in doing so,” he said.

 


Saudi justice minister issues 2,317 law practice licenses

Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani. (SPA)
Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani. (SPA)
Updated 15 August 2022

Saudi justice minister issues 2,317 law practice licenses

Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani. (SPA)
  • Services for lawyers offered through the Najiz portal include applying for a law practice license and renewal of licenses

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani has issued 2,317 and renewed 1,082 law practice licenses in the past 12 months.

The ministry has said that it is focusing its efforts on vocational training as an essential part of the justice system, providing professional advice to safeguard people’s interests.

Inquiries about licensed lawyers can be made through a list of lawyers classified by name and city, as well as queries about the status of filed applications and other services, the ministry said.

Services for lawyers offered through the Najiz portal include applying for a law practice license and renewal of licenses.

A trainee lawyers’ service allows applicants to register and receive a “trainee lawyer identification certificate” electronically.

The portal also has a transfer service for lawyers and can issue new electronic “trainee lawyer identification certificates.”

 


Saudi Arabia’s NELC launches advanced online learning courses

The participants will receive training from specialists in the sector before having to undergo examinations. (AFP)
The participants will receive training from specialists in the sector before having to undergo examinations. (AFP)
Updated 31 min 45 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s NELC launches advanced online learning courses

The participants will receive training from specialists in the sector before having to undergo examinations. (AFP)
  • Places for over 4,000 students and teachers on offer

RIYADH: The National eLearning Center in Riyadh has now invited applications for three new advanced-level professional job courses that seeks to prepare students and teachers to become experts at online education.

Places are open for 4,359 students, both male and female, who can apply until Oct. 9.

The first is certification targeting teachers, faculty members, trainers, and all e-learning, and training program providers.

The second is an education experience design and e-learning (eLXD) course aimed at educators and tech-learning specialists.

The third is an e-learning quality control certificate (eLQA) targeting those in the field including education app arbitrators and supervisors, and school administrators.

The certificate program allows young professionals to get a competitive advantage in the e-education and training field.

The participants will receive training from specialists in the sector before having to undergo examinations.

The courses are being offered in collaboration with the Education and Training Evaluation Commission represented by Qiyas, the National Center for Assessment.

 


Saudi aid agency’s Noor program provides gift of sight

KSrelief continues to oversee several health and welfare projects across the world for those most in need. (SPA)
KSrelief continues to oversee several health and welfare projects across the world for those most in need. (SPA)
Updated 18 min 6 sec ago

Saudi aid agency’s Noor program provides gift of sight

KSrelief continues to oversee several health and welfare projects across the world for those most in need. (SPA)
  • Thousands treated for eye ailments, given spectacles

JEDDAH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, or KSrelief, has this month completed several projects that treated thousands of people with poor vision.

The Noor program’s doctors performed several life-changing procedures in Nigeria, Morocco and Bangladesh.

In Tahnaout, Morocco, the center completed 567 surgeries, provided 1,217 spectacles, and conducted 3,000 medical examinations from Aug. 1 to 8. Similar treatments took place in Chichaoua.

In Meherpur, Bangladesh, the center performed 668 cataract procedures, provided 1,716 spectacles, and conducted 10,310 medical examinations between Aug. 4 and 12.

In Kano, Nigeria, KSrelief concluded the second phase of its free eye operations between Aug. 9 and 14. This project was supported by the Ihsan campaign in cooperation with Al-Basar International Foundation.

KSrelief continues to oversee several health and welfare projects across the world for those most in need.

 


Who’s Who: Abdulaziz Saja, general manager of Tabby Saudi Arabia

Abdulaziz Saja
Abdulaziz Saja
Updated 15 August 2022

Who’s Who: Abdulaziz Saja, general manager of Tabby Saudi Arabia

Abdulaziz Saja

Abdulaziz Saja is the general manager of Tabby Saudi Arabia, one of the leading buy now, pay later financial technology companies in Saudi Arabia.

Tabby is a platform that offers financial freedom to its users with BNPL options for over 4,000 brands operating in the Kingdom, the UAE and Kuwait.

Saja is in charge of Tabby’s operations, including hiring, business development, compliance, legal and growth activities in the Kingdom.

Born and raised in Riyadh, he studied finance with a minor degree in economics at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

He started his career in commercial banking, working in multiple banks for around five years.

He then decided to pursue a master’s degree in business administration with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, later switching careers to management consulting.

After working as an associate with McKinsey & Co. for two years, Hosam Arab, co-founder and CEO of Tabby, approached Saja to join his team as general manager in 2019.

In February 2020, Tabby launched its commercial operations in the UAE. A launch in the Kingdom followed soon after in July 2020, along with approval to join the Saudi Central Bank’s Sandbox environment, bringing BNPL officially to the Kingdom in October 2020.

Saja continues to lead Tabby’s efforts in the Kingdom with plans to roll out new and exciting products in the future.