Saudis enjoy home decorating for Ramadan

Many Saudis and expats flocked to exhibitions and local markets selling Ramadan decorations to buy their favorite items to decorate their homes, while others availed great Ramadan deals online. (Supplied)
Many Saudis and expats flocked to exhibitions and local markets selling Ramadan decorations to buy their favorite items to decorate their homes, while others availed great Ramadan deals online. (Supplied)
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Updated 04 April 2022

Saudis enjoy home decorating for Ramadan

Many Saudis and expats flocked to exhibitions and local markets selling Ramadan decorations to buy their favorite items to decorate their homes, while others availed great Ramadan deals online. (Supplied)
  • Demand for Ramadan-themed decorations, fabrics have skyrocketed this year following the pandemic

JEDDAH: Each year before the holy month begins, women in Saudi Arabia dress up their homes with the trendiest Ramadan-themed decorations.

Samer Musa, a Ramadan decoration shop owner in Al-Balad, told Arab News that demand has skyrocketed this year, following the pandemic.

“Usually, demand begins to reach its peak two weeks prior to Ramadan, but since there are fewer social distancing restrictions this year, sales started to increase significantly a month ago,” he said.

Popular decoration items include lanterns of varying sizes and colors, twinkle lights, crescent moons, textile products like the “shkaly,” a vintage printed fabric with a distinctive bright pink rose, and “khayamiya,” a fabric bearing geometric and curvilinear arabesque patterns.

Musa said that the trendiest items this year are “golden metal lanterns, printed cushions and retro Egyptian cartoon figures such as Bakkar, Buji, Tamtam, and others.”

Trendiest items this year are golden metal lanterns, printed cushions and retro Egyptian cartoon figures such as Bakkar, Buji, Tamtam, and others.

Samer Musa, Shop owner in Al-Balad

Decorations can be bought online or from stores such as CenterPoint, IKEA, SACO, and Al Hadaya Center, which have separate sections for Ramadan-themed party items and decorations.

Nema Fadhel, a mother of five and a collector of Ramadan lanterns, said that she prepares her Ramadan decorations two months in advance.

“I have a collection of 15 lanterns, and the collection is still growing. Usually, I bring them from Egypt and Jordan and stores like Al Hadaya Center as well as Al-Balad as they offer the best trending collections of lanterns, twinkle lights, straw baskets and candles. To guarantee getting a unique lantern, I order from Instagram shops,” she said.

In addition to bringing a cheerful atmosphere to the home, Ramadan decorations motivate kids to stick to their fasting, Fadhel said.

“I make sure to make some decorations from scratch with my kids. It is a way to instill the love of this month within them, and it helps us as parents to familiarize them with the concept of fasting,” Fadhel said.

“Gargee’an” is another common Ramadan celebration in some Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia. The festive event, which takes place on the 15th night of the Islamic month of Sha’ban and on the 15th night of Ramadan, requires much in the way of decorating and preparations.

Usually, ladies and kids dress up in Ramadan jalabiyas and distribute Ramadan-themed giveaways and sweets to each other.

With Ramadan just a few days away, Al-Harthi Exhibition Center in Jeddah, which was turned into a COVID-19 vaccination center, opened its doors for the first time since the start of the pandemic two years ago.

Manal Mubarak, one of the visitors, told Arab News: “I like to come here every year, and I am so glad that we can enjoy Ramadan decoration shopping again after two years of pandemic.”

Mubarak has a corner in her living room dedicated to Ramadan decorations.

“I like to renew my Ramadan decoration every year, and this year I am mesmerized by the lanterns, tables and trays at the exhibition center. The cushions also are so beautiful,” she said.

Families can shop the exhibition, open until April 2, for the best Ramadan decorations, clothes and food items, including many Egyptian and local products.


Saudia concludes Hajj 2022 operations

Saudia concludes Hajj 2022 operations
Updated 42 min 54 sec ago

Saudia concludes Hajj 2022 operations

Saudia concludes Hajj 2022 operations
  • Flight SV5712 from Madinah airport, carrying 347 Hajj pilgrims, was bid farewell on Sunday
  • Saudia’s Hajj plan began with arrivals to the Kingdom on June 6 and continued with departures on July 14

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s flag carrier Saudia concluded its global Hajj 2022 transport operation with a flight to Ahmedabad, India on Sunday.

Flight SV5712 from Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport, carrying 347 pilgrims, was bid farewell by Saudia’s chief Hajj and Umrah officer Amer Alkhushail.

Saudia’s operational plan for Hajj began with arrivals to the Kingdom on June 6 and continued with departures on July 14.

More than 350,000 pilgrims were transported over the two phases, of which 120,000 traveled on 300 Hajj flights. A further 230,000 pilgrims traveled on scheduled and additional flights.

The airline revealed that 280,000 pieces of luggage were handled as part of its free “luggage first” service that was launched this year.

As part of the free service, pilgrims’ luggage was collected from their hotel or other accommodation in Jeddah, Makkah or Madinah 24 hours before their departure and delivered to the correct airport baggage center where it was checked in before they arrived at the airport.


Nice film festival winner ‘The Whaler’ portrays Saudi fisherman, marine life

Nice film festival winner ‘The Whaler’ portrays Saudi fisherman, marine life
Updated 14 August 2022

Nice film festival winner ‘The Whaler’ portrays Saudi fisherman, marine life

Nice film festival winner ‘The Whaler’ portrays Saudi fisherman, marine life
  • Filmmaker Saleh Bukhamseen: ‘I wanted to capture the spirit of the people who make their livelihood from marine life and showcase their determination’
  • Bukhamseen said that he was first inspired to shoot his film when he began diving and saw the life and beauty that lies beneath the Red Sea’s surface

RIYADH: Saudi short film “The Whaler” on May 22 won the Science Award at the 2022 Nice International Film Festival, held in the south of France.

The film documents the lives of fishermen in Saudi Arabia, showcasing the beauty of the Kingdom and its maritime world to international audiences. 

It provides unique insight into past and present generations of fishermen — known as “hawata” (Arabic for “whalers”) — through Abu Hilal, an esteemed elder of Yanbu’s fishing scene.

A coastal and industrial city on the Red Sea, Yanbu is strategically located as it is close to the Suez Canal.

Speaking to Arab News, filmmaker Saleh Bukhamseen said: “One major challenge that we — the cameraman Wael and myself — faced when filming ‘The Whaler’ was the extreme weather conditions and the obstruction of the Suez Canal, which happened in 2021.”

Bukhamseen is a self-taught underwater cinematographer with eight years of experience. He combines his passion for diving and filmmaking to create unique films that highlight the beauty of the sea, its creatures and its relationship with humans.

“I wanted to capture the spirit of the people who make their livelihood from marine life and showcase their determination. Fish is a mealtime favorite for many, especially on a Friday, but do we realize the amazing journey behind this beautiful meal? ‘Hawata’ will show you this!” said Bukhamseen.

He has worked on several projects for the Saudi Arabian government, such as films promoting tourism, and has produced short documentaries.

“When you combine talent and passion, there is no limit. It takes a lot of effort to be a writer, producer, director, underwater cameraman and editor all at once, but with teamwork, spectacular results can be achieved,” said Bukhamseen, who filmed and produced “The Whaler” alongside only one other person — his cameraman Wael.

Bukhamseen said that he was first inspired to shoot his film when he began diving and saw the life and beauty that lies beneath the Red Sea’s surface. What he could not describe in words, he said, he captured on film.

“The Whaler,” only 12 minutes long, will be available for the world to see once the film festival tour concludes. Bukhamseen said that these few minutes took five months to prepare, film, edit and present to audiences and panelists.

In its 10th edition, the Nice International Film Festival is held annually in Nice, France.

The week-long event allows aspiring independent filmmakers to showcase their work to an international audience.

“Nice International Film Festival has strict criteria its awards, which cover originality, creativity, film quality, story structure and editing,” said Bukhamseen. “‘Hawata’ was judged by a panel of international film experts to assess whether or not the film deserves to win the trophy.” 

During the festival, the audience is presented with films over a period of a week, which concludes with a prestigious ceremony in which exceptionally talented filmmakers, screenwriters and actors receive awards for their respective film categories.

Bukhamseen told Arab News that he is proud to represent his country, Saudi Arabia, and encourages all aspiring filmmakers to follow their hearts, develop their technical skills and, above all else, respect the environment.

Besides “The Whaler,” he has produced three films: “Plastic Inferno,” “Strange Neighbor” and “The Patient Minarets,” all of which are environmental documentaries.


17 new housing schemes approved in Q2 for Madinah, says municipality

17 new housing schemes approved in Q2 for Madinah, says municipality
Updated 14 August 2022

17 new housing schemes approved in Q2 for Madinah, says municipality

17 new housing schemes approved in Q2 for Madinah, says municipality
  • The schemes cover a total area of 2,242,738 square meters
  • Plans include 2,932 residential plots,16 schools, 21 parks, 23 mosques, and facilities

RIYADH: 17 new housing schemes were approved in Madinah during the second quarter of 2022, Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

The schemes cover a total area of 2,242,738 square meters and include 2,932 residential plots of various sizes, 16 schools, 21 public parks, 23 mosques, and a range of public and government facilities.

The Madinah Regional Municipality said the adoption of the new housing plans contributes to developing the city’s infrastructure, meeting demands for housing units, increasing the quality of life for residents, supporting urban expansion programs and environmental and economic development plans for the city, and increasing residential areas for the local population considering the urban growth witnessed by the region.


KSrelief begins food, aid distribution in Yemen’s flood-hit Al-Mahra province 

KSrelief begins food, aid distribution in Yemen’s flood-hit Al-Mahra province 
Updated 14 August 2022

KSrelief begins food, aid distribution in Yemen’s flood-hit Al-Mahra province 

KSrelief begins food, aid distribution in Yemen’s flood-hit Al-Mahra province 
  • Al-Mahra, among other southern and eastern governorates, witnessed heavy rains in the past few days

Dubai: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) began its aid efforts in Yemen’s Al-Mahra governorate on Saturday by distributing emergency food aid to people affected by the torrential rains and floods. 
The center distributed 100 food baskets containing basic materials, benefiting 1,092 people.
Al-Mahra, among other southern and eastern governorates, witnessed heavy rains in the past few days. 
KSrelief’s immediate intervention comes as part of its continuous efforts to aid and support Yemeni people in different crises.


Prizewinning Saudi student speaks of journey to competition success

Lama won gold at the Gulf Physics Olympiad and a bronze each at the international and Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiads. (SPA)
Lama won gold at the Gulf Physics Olympiad and a bronze each at the international and Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiads. (SPA)
Updated 13 August 2022

Prizewinning Saudi student speaks of journey to competition success

Lama won gold at the Gulf Physics Olympiad and a bronze each at the international and Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiads. (SPA)
  • Lama Al-Ahdal scooped medals in Physics Olympiads and made her country proud

JEDDAH: Prizewinning Saudi student Lama Al-Ahdal, who has been scooping medals at Physics Olympiads, says her competition success motivates her to continue with her passion and achieve great things for the Kingdom.

She won gold at the Gulf Physics Olympiad, a bronze at the International Physics Olympiad, and a bronze at the Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiad.

Al-Ahdal spoke to the Saudi Press Agency about the beginning of her journey in the Physics Olympiad through the Mawhoob Competition, which she took part in several times.

It was her participation in 2018 that led to her nomination to attend training forums, a path that would eventually lead her to victory.

“I started attending basic courses in Jeddah, through which I qualified and passed the required tests. I was nominated for the Winter Forum at Princess Nourah University in Riyadh, then trained with the physics team, from which a number of students in the Kingdom would qualify to form the Saudi team for the Physics Olympiad.

HIGHLIGHT

It was her participation in 2018 that led to her nomination to attend training forums, a path that would eventually lead her to victory.

“At the beginning of 2019, we underwent intense eight-hour training, both remotely and at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, to prepare for international competitions. I learned how to calculate the strength of the Earth's magnetic field using a string and two pieces of magnets, how electricity can be generated by heating two pieces of metal, how to measure the thickness of a candy wrapper using a laser, and other scientific experiments.

“The top five students were then nominated to represent the Kingdom, and thankfully I made it and snatched the gold medal in the Gulf Physics Olympiad, the bronze medal in the Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiad, and the bronze medal in the International Physics Olympiad.”

Joining the Saudi physics team and undergoing training helped her to discover that physics was a beautiful subject. “I learned a lot from it and the Olympiad experience.”

Her participation increased her skills and developed her thinking by getting to know competitors from different countries.

“I also developed my time management skills since the training continued even during school days. My father and mother had a major role in helping me achieve my goals and encouraging me to try new things to gain more skills and learn more,” she said.

Setting a specific goal and working to achieve it was the most important thing that motivated her to take up the challenge and try new things.

Her father, Abdul Rahman Al-Ahdal, said his daughter’s journey was full of scientific challenges.

“She has always been a talented child and a bright student, with a  promising future ahead of her. God blessed her with a group of highly experienced trainers and supervisors. It is important to focus and draw a plan and work to achieve it.

“I thank King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, and everyone responsible for helping the sons and daughters of the Kingdom partake in forums of creativity, innovation and scientific Olympiad, and other scientific activities.”