Saudi Arabia hosts special Ramadan festivities

Outdoor cenima in Al-Balad, Jeddah. (SPA)
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Outdoor cenima in Al-Balad, Jeddah. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia hosts special Ramadan festivities
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Updated 07 April 2023
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Saudi Arabia hosts special Ramadan festivities

Outdoor cenima in Al-Balad, Jeddah. (SPA)
  • Khalid Al-Rabiah, the CEO of Ghamra Adventures Agency in Riyadh, told Arab News that a special program during Ramadan is provided for those who would like to enjoy the great outdoors of the Kingdom

JEDDAH: A different vibe is felt around Ramadan as the Kingdom comes alive with cultural activities at night for its residents and tourists.

AlUla, a place that attracted 180,000 visitors last year, is at the center of things. Located in northwest Saudi Arabia, it is an extraordinary place featuring a lush valley, towering sandstone mountains, and ancient cultural heritage sites dating back thousands of years.

AlUla is hosting a diverse range of celebrations and activities until April 20 for locals and visitors who want to spend the holy month in a remarkable setting steeped in culture, history, and natural beauty.




Hakawi Ramadan, a storyteller narrates unique tales about the month, which is one Jeddah Ramadan season activities. (SPA)

Visitors to the city during this time will have access to a rich, two-week Ramadan program that includes a celebration of verse in the region, part of Saudi Arabia’s Year of Arabic Poetry.

Samaritan poetry is central to this history and recitals are traditionally accompanied by musical instruments such as the tar and drums.

Musaharati may be spotted in the alleys of the Old Town. They are people who walk around neighborhoods beating drums and chanting poetry to wake sleeping people for sahoor.

FASTFACT

Visitors to AlUla during this time will have access to a rich, two- week Ramadan program that includes a celebration of verse in the region, part of Saudi Arabia’s Year of Arabic Poetry.

AlManshiyah Plaza in AlUla is the place to head for on Fridays for live music, and restaurants, cafes and playgrounds at other times in the week.




Various events and activities include calligraphy workshops, outdoor cinemas, puppet theaters and interactive art events. (SPA)

The place serves as a gathering hub during Ramadan as visitors come together for a community sahoor gathering in a traditional setting to experience traditional Saudi board games and storytelling.

Iftar and sahoor offerings are served in delightful surroundings at Habitas AlUla, Cloud7 Residence, and Banyan Tree AlUla.

Visitors can also experience immersive tours of ancient locations such as Hegra and Dadan, gaze at the stars, or watch a film at Cinema Al-Jadidah.




The dunes of the Empty Quarter. (Supplied)

Banyan Tree AlUla Hotel and Resort is offering a special Ramadan staycation package, including a 60-minute spa treatment per person per night, an in-villa sahoor set menu, and complimentary yoga classes.

Khalid Al-Rabiah, the CEO of Ghamra Adventures Agency in Riyadh, told Arab News that a special program during Ramadan is provided for those who would like to enjoy the great outdoors of the Kingdom.

He said: “Our program times in Ramadan start at 3 p.m. and end at 8 a.m., which is considered the best time to go out and explore nature in Ramadan.




Al-Balad's narrow alleys have been filled with light and laughter. (SPA)

“There are one-day trips and there is a three-day weekend trip we also offer.

“We design special trips depending on the interests of the visitors during the holy month.”

Each trip has a different program, according to the region’s terrain.

Al-Rabiah added: “We do mountain biking in Hail, and as for the Empty Quarter excursions, we offer kayaking in the Umm Al-Hish Lakes and sandboarding in the Brodan Oasis.”




Umm Al-Hish Lakes features a special spot that gathers pure water and spacious deserts, located in the Empty Quarter. (Supplied)

The Saudi Ministry of Culture launched Ramadan Season in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Makkah during the holy month for in-city tourism.

Various events and activities include calligraphy workshops, outdoor cinemas, puppet theaters and interactive art events.

The narrow alleys in the historic Al-Balad area of Jeddah have filled with light and laughter as a program of evening cultural and entertainment activities has been provided for Ramadan.

A Ramadan Promenade offers an array of activities, including food and local handmade goods, live performances, traditional storytelling, and engaging games for visitors of all ages.

Ramadan Tent in Riyadh brings a variety of unique cultural experiences, such as iftar and sahoor meals prepared by top chefs, as well as other cultural activities suitable for families and tourists from around the world.

 


Manga Productions celebrates Arab voice talents

Manga Productions celebrates Arab voice talents
Updated 15 sec ago
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Manga Productions celebrates Arab voice talents

Manga Productions celebrates Arab voice talents
  • Elyas Zoroqi and Nora declared winners of Dubbing it in Arabic competition
  • Competition encourages Saudi and Arab dubbing actors to make their mark in animated cartoons

RIYADH: Manga Productions company, which is affiliated with the Misk Foundation, hosted a ceremony in Riyadh on Sunday to reveal the results of the Dubbing it in Arabic competition.

The event was attended by jury members from prominent Arab and Saudi dubbing companies, as well as distinguished professionals and influencers in the anime and entertainment industry.

The competition, which took place over two weeks, received over 1,800 entries from across the Arab world. Open to anyone passionate about voice acting, it offered the opportunity to participate in upcoming Manga Productions projects in the anime genre.

A jury panel comprising esteemed figures such as Jihad Al-Atrash, Sanaa Younis, Souad Jawad, and Ibrahim Al-Hasawi announced the winners of the competition that ran from Jan. 30 to Feb. 11.

The panel evaluated the top contenders and gave a score for each participating voice actor. After the votes were counted, the victors were revealed.

Male voice actor Elyas Zoroqi, and Nora, a female voice actor, were declared the winners for their performances in dubbing a scene from a Manga Productions project.

Arabic dubbing artist Al-Atrash told Arab News that the Arab world was currently in an exciting moment as it develops its own entertainments and showcases its culture to the globe.

He said: “The people who took part in the tournament were astounding. This demonstrates how well Manga Productions is working, and it needs to interact with the wide Arab audience everywhere.

“We used to appropriate other people’s cultures rather than our own, but these days we export culture to every country in the world.”

The jury committee praised the competition, which encouraged Saudi and Arab youngsters to make their mark in animated cartoons in Arabic, based on works from Manga Productions.

The CEO of Manga Productions Essam Bukhary said: “Since its inception Manga Productions has taken it upon itself to train and develop talented Arab youth, as we are pleased to embrace these Arab talents in the field of dubbing while involving the distinguished among them in our upcoming artistic works.

“Our pride today is to be part of the journey of developing these talents and enabling them to achieve their dreams and make a positive impact in the Saudi creative industry, exporting Arabic content to be dubbed into international languages.”

Jury member and actor Jawad said: “This competition is a dream that I have dreamed for more than 40 years. The approach that Manga Productions is adopting to stimulate these talents is an outlook that reassures future generations.”

Sanaa Bakr, another member of the jury and voice actor, said: “My happiness is indescribable in being a member of the jury. The participation was amazing.”

Manga Productions, which is a pioneer in the Arab anime community, is dedicated to developing and supporting talents. Through initiatives like Teaching Manga on the Madrasati platform, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture, it has reached more than 3 million students.

With its focus on empowering Saudi youth, Manga Productions has trained over 4,000 talents in creative content in a bid to lead the industry.


4th Saudi National Cultural Awards launched

4th Saudi National Cultural Awards launched
Updated 6 min 29 sec ago
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4th Saudi National Cultural Awards launched

4th Saudi National Cultural Awards launched
  • The National Cultural Awards initiative is part of the Quality of Life Program, one of the Vision 2030 schemes

RIYADH: Officials from the Saudi Ministry of Culture have launched the fourth National Cultural Awards, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

Sponsored by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it will cover 16 categories including film, music, fashion, national heritage, literature, theater and performing arts, visual art, architecture and design, culinary arts, publishing, and translation.

Among the awards will be cultural personality of the year, youth culture, international excellence, male and female business achievers, and a cultural institutions gong.

The awards aim to encourage cultural content and production, in addition to supporting winners and granting them an honorary representation of the cultural sector within the Kingdom and internationally.

Members of the public and cultural community can submit nominations via https://www.moc.gov.sa/Modules/Pages/Cultural-Awards. The application period will last for two months, with the stages of screening, evaluation, and judging of nominations ending with the announcement of the winners at the closing ceremony to be held in September.

The National Cultural Awards initiative is part of the Quality of Life Program, one of the Vision 2030 schemes.


Ensan launches Ramadan basket project for over 13,000 families

Ensan launches Ramadan basket project for over 13,000 families
Updated 26 February 2024
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Ensan launches Ramadan basket project for over 13,000 families

Ensan launches Ramadan basket project for over 13,000 families
  • Ensan said that it aims to distribute the Ramadan Basket to 13,333 families, with SR300 ($80) per orphan family
  • Allocated amount for the basket is deposited into families’ bank accounts to secure their food needs during the holy month

RIYADH: The Charity Society for Orphan Care in Riyadh (Ensan) has launched the Ramadan Basket project to help beneficiaries secure their food needs during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan in all of the charity’s 21 branches in the capital.

Ensan said that it aims to distribute the Ramadan Basket to 13,333 families, with SR300 ($80) per orphan family, and called for donations via the Ensan donation platform, transfer to the charity’s bank accounts, or by visiting one of its branches.

The Ramadan Basket project is one of the seasonal programs the charity offers to beneficiaries at the beginning of Ramadan each year. The allocated amount for the basket is deposited into families’ bank accounts to secure their food needs during the holy month.

Ensan’s seasonal projects also include Zakat Al-Fitr, Zakat Al-Mal, and Eid gifts, as well as projects for Hajj, sacrificial offerings, winter clothing, and school bags. This is in addition to basic services and support provided by the charity, such as sponsorship, educational and healthcare, housing services, training, and employment.


Umrah pilgrims laud King Salman program

Umrah pilgrims laud King Salman program
Updated 26 February 2024
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Umrah pilgrims laud King Salman program

Umrah pilgrims laud King Salman program
  • Third group of beneficiaries left Makkah to travel home
  • 250 prominent Muslims from 65 countries part of group

RIYADH: The third group of beneficiaries of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah, supervised by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, have lauded the country’s leadership for helping them to perform their rituals in Makkah.

The participants have now returned home after completing Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The group included 250 prominent Muslims from 16 countries: Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Chad, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and Mauritania.

They thanked King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the ministry for providing them with quality services during their visit.

During their stay, they visited Quba Mosque, the Martyrs of Uhud Cemetery, Jabal Ar-Rumat (Hill of Archers), Hira Cultural District, the Cave of Hira, and other historical and cultural sites across the two holy cities.

The guests visited the Revelation Exhibition at the Hira Cultural District in Makkah, which featured models of the Cave of Hira and a screen narrating the story of how Prophet Muhammad received revelation.

They said the exhibition was indicative of the Kingdom’s efforts to enrich visitors’ religious and cultural experiences, as well as its care for Islam and Muslims.


Riyadh to host first international sand and dust storm conference next week

Riyadh to host first international sand and dust storm conference next week
Updated 26 February 2024
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Riyadh to host first international sand and dust storm conference next week

Riyadh to host first international sand and dust storm conference next week

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Meteorology will host the first International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms from March 4-6 in Riyadh.

The forum, organized by the World Meteorological Organization’s Sand and Dust Storm Warning Regional Center, is expected to draw wide international participation and aims to address the growing global challenge posed by dust and sand storms.

Over 200 researchers, experts, and specialists from around the world, including WMO representatives, will gather to share the latest advancements in dust and sand storm research, said the center.

The conference is slated to discuss a wide range of critical topics, including sources of dust aerosol formation, dust-climate interactions, health impacts and mitigation strategies, monitoring and predictive modeling, and economic, infrastructural, and environmental consequences of dust storms on various sectors.

The conference will underscore the urgent need to combat dust and sandstorms, in view of their significant impacts on the environment, public health, and economies.

Such storms can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, disrupt solar energy production, degrade air quality, alter weather patterns, and disrupt biogeochemical cycles.

This international conference serves as a crucial platform where scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders from around the world exchange knowledge and collaborate, paving the way for a more coordinated and effective approach to tackling the global challenge of dust and sand storms.

International and regional initiatives have been taken to study these impacts and come up with mitigating strategies.

The Middle East, with its vast arid and semi-arid landscape, is a major source of dust particles.

The increasing frequency and intensity of dust storms in the region, attributed to changes in land use and vegetation cover degradation, needs further comprehensive research to fully understand their far-reaching effects.

Saudi Arabia has taken important steps to mitigate climate change and combat sand and dust storms including the Saudi Green Initiative launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2021, which aims to address local and global environmental challenges.

Established under Saudi Vision 2030, SGI is an ambitious plan focused on combating climate change, protecting the environment for future generations and improving the quality of life.

It unites all the efforts towards Saudi Arabia’s mission of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 through the creation of a circular carbon economy. The Kingdom has also pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 278 million tons annually by 2030.

By 2030 Saudi Arabia plans to plant 600 million trees, restore 3.8 million hectares of land and champion biodiversity conservation as part of the SGI’s 10 billion trees goal.

In March 2019, the Kingdom established the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification with the aim of increasing green areas and rehabilitating degraded vegetation sites.

Moreover, the Kingdom launched the Middle East Green Initiative in April 2021, the most comprehensive program of its kind in the world, as a support for the SGI.

The aim of launching the MGI is to plant 50 billion trees, equivalent to 5 percent of the global afforestation goal.

All of these efforts will help in mitigating desertification, reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and enhance biodiversity. It also shows Saudi Arabia’s commitment to sustainable development and addressing the challenges of climate change and sand and dust storms.