RIYADH: Shaqra welcomed locals and expats to mark its 43rd Eid festival with gusto at the Hlewa Heritage Market, beautifully decorated with colorful banners and lighting.
Located approximately 190 kilometers outside Riyadh near Ushaiger Heritage Village, Shaqra is a small town steeped in rich culture and history in which locals take great pride.
The market opened at 4:00 p.m., and the festivities and events kicked off after the Maghrib prayers.
Raffle tickets were distributed to visitors at the entrance, giving them a chance to win Eid prizes.
The festival also featured a children’s corner with board games, exciting competitions and face-painting booths.
There were also small shops and food trucks selling local delicacies, ice creams and traditional treats.
Many of my colleagues had never witnessed authentic Saudi culture. I was very happy for them to experience the traditions of family gatherings and celebrations, and Shaqra perfectly highlighted that.
Abdullah Yahya, Visitor
At the center of the market was a large seating area for families to enjoy live musical performances.
Children dressed in traditional Najdi attire roamed the market, singing and laughing alongside the live bands.
Volunteers were also present at the event to offer interactive demonstrations on staying healthy during the festivities.
The celebrations were projected on large screens around the market for everyone to enjoy.
Kunduz Irismetova, from Kazakhstan, was visiting the Shaqra Eid celebrations with her colleagues as part of a five-month exchange program.
“I had an amazing experience visiting Shaqra with my colleagues. It’s always great to discover the history of different countries, and I have enjoyed it a lot,” said Irismetova, who was impressed by the locals’ hospitality. “My colleagues showed me the ancient city, and I listened to stories of real Saudi culture and traditions.
“This is my first Eid in the Kingdom, and I was excited to see how people who live in the heart of the foundation of Islam carry out these beautiful celebrations with respect,” Irismetova said.
“The townspeople welcomed my colleagues and me to celebrate with them, and they treated us as if we were all from the same town,” said Abdullah Yahya, Irismetova’s colleague.
“Many of my colleagues had never witnessed authentic Saudi culture. I was very happy for them to experience the traditions of family gatherings and celebrations, and Shaqra perfectly highlighted that,” he added. “The townspeople were celebrating as one family. Although it is a small town, a large crowd gathered to celebrate, and it was truly beautiful to witness.”
He added: “The locals in the town were truly down to earth and welcoming. I am very happy my expat colleagues were able to experience Eid in Saudi Arabia.”