DHAHRAN: Ithra celebrated Eid Al-Adha by offering interactive activities, live performances, inspiring talks and dining options.
The iconic building was illuminated with festive lights, while inside there was live music, the aroma of fresh Saudi gahwa or coffee, bottled Zamzam water, and children skipping about in their best thobes and dresses.
As part of the Eid celebration, award-winning Kuwaiti artist Humood Al-Khudher performed his first concert at the Ithra Theater as an enthusiastic audience sang along.
Inspired by gold embroidery from the holiest places in Islam, Suq Majaz, a shop from Al-Ahsa, offered free craft options at the Ithra Museum, helping visitors make their own bisht-inspired gold necklaces and bracelets. The bisht is a traditional cloak typically worn by men on celebratory occasions.
Other mosque-related content could be viewed at Enigma at the Ithra Cinema, where families solved puzzles and joined a grand quest to help the Tamim family (introduced during the event) to continue their journey into Makkah.
The library hosted a talk about the Grand Mosque and how it felt to be a pilgrim performing Hajj, while offering insights on the different traditions centered around the holy site.
Photos could be taken at the Ithra Tower with the backdrop giving participants the illusion they were standing at Al-Haram in Makkah.
The Energy Exhibit also offered the chance for science-loving children to perform experiments, and offered an interactive show that bridged science and storytelling.
The Children’s Museum at Ithra was bustling with an extra burst of excitement for Eid. Short talks were given by expert staff who discussed the various stones in Al-Haram in Makkah to help deepen everyone’s understanding about the area.
For curious and creative youngsters who struggle to sit still, the museum offered plenty of interactive activities throughout the different spaces, which encouraged children of all ages to fully engage while learning.
Along the windows at Ithra, a selection of local artists were asked to draw their interpretation of the holiday.
Sara Aljoughiman, a self-taught artist, said: “I’m one of the group artists participating right now in Ithra to do some sketches related to Hajj and Eid Al-Adha in general. The idea for this sketch came from a scene that happened here. I saw a kid following a pigeon in the outside area and the idea came from that scene that I saw. We usually see a lot of pigeons in Al-Haram; it’s a symbol of peace usually, and that’s why I thought of drawing it with the minaret and some Islamic designs.”
For those willing to venture outside the window and into the sweltering summer heat, the Ithra Market was modeled after the markets in Makkah. Food trucks were lined up with offerings from crispy fried chicken via the popular Al-Baik to cold fresh juices. A cluster of independent local vendors also sold other goods.
One vendor, Bodour Amer, said that her shop, Dan Store, specializes in “pretty products that are good for the environment.”
The shop is one of several selling goods for last-minute Eid gifts.
“We are a curated online shop that selects environmentally-friendly goods from abroad. We have handmade soy candles, ceramic mugs, 100 percent organic cotton tote bags, and notebooks — made from 100 percent recycled paper with eco-friendly ink,” Amer told Arab News.
“This is our second time participating at Ithra’s Eid celebration and we are so happy to offer this opportunity for locals to buy from us directly during Eid, before, hopefully, checking out the full selection at our online store.”
Myrna Madrideo, an overseas Filipino worker, decided to check out the Eid festivities at Ithra in order to deepen her knowledge of Saudi and Muslim culture — and to just have some fun.
“I wanted to come to Ithra’s Eid celebration to experience Saudi culture and to experience Eid. When I came to Ithra, I was amazed— it’s beautiful and interesting. I loved the bookstore,” she said.
“I came to Saudi five years now, and this Eid at Ithra, I learned more about Muslims and about the culture. I feel happy to know about this, about them, about here inside Saudi. It’s all very beautiful.”