RIYADH: The Ministry of Culture is organizing the “Hasawi Bisht” festival on June 15-21 at the Souq Al-Arbi’a (Wednesday Market) in Al-Ahsa.
The festival features activities that show the cultural, and historical heritage of handmade sewing arts in Al-Ahsa, most notably the manufacturing of bisht. The activities include an exhibition of Saudi bishts and an area dedicated to handicrafts.
Visitors can participate in live workshops specializing in bisht manufacturing and enjoy a food court that includes dishes Al-Ahsa is famous for, including Hasawi bread, rice and dates.
They can also participate in the Year of Saudi Coffee’s events that highlight coffee’s importance on different occasions.
Also known as mishla, the bisht is a men’s cloak worn over a thobe — or ankle-length tunic — in the Arab world.
Usually black, brown, grey, beige or white, it is the most traditional of Saudi outfits, and one of the most prestigious, associated with royalty, wealth and ceremony, similar to the black-tie tuxedo in the West.
The festival comes in the context of the ministry’s efforts to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s distinctive cultural elements.