Festivities light up Jeddah’s historic Al-Balad

Festivities light up Jeddah’s historic Al-Balad
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Abdul Hameed Shalabi, the owner of Sobia Bar, has attracted a bustling crowd to his shop, where he makes and serves sobia. (AN Photo)
Festivities light up Jeddah’s historic Al-Balad
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The historic district of Al-Balad is buzzing with cultural festivities and traditional celebrations during the holy month as part of the Saudi Ministry of Culture’s Ramadan Season. (AN Photo)
Festivities light up Jeddah’s historic Al-Balad
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Hussein Al-Abdali, a skilled miswak craftsman in Al-Balad since the 1960s. (AN Photo)
Festivities light up Jeddah’s historic Al-Balad
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Saeed Al-Ghamdi, a currency collector showcasing his treasures. (AN Photo)
Festivities light up Jeddah’s historic Al-Balad
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The historic district of Al-Balad is buzzing with cultural festivities and traditional celebrations during the holy month as part of the Saudi Ministry of Culture’s Ramadan Season. (AN Photo)
Festivities light up Jeddah’s historic Al-Balad
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The historic district of Al-Balad is buzzing with cultural festivities and traditional celebrations during the holy month as part of the Saudi Ministry of Culture’s Ramadan Season. (AN Photo)
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Updated 16 March 2024
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Festivities light up Jeddah’s historic Al-Balad

Festivities light up Jeddah’s historic Al-Balad
  • Ramadan Season brings a dose of nostalgia with culinary adventures, camel rides and traditional crafts
  • The streets are lined with traditional exhibits, from the miller displaying quilts, sofas, and cushions to a vendor presenting ancient cosmetic tools

JEDDAH: The historic district of Al-Balad is buzzing with cultural festivities and traditional celebrations during the holy month as part of the Saudi Ministry of Culture’s Ramadan Season.
Ramadan holds a cherished spot in the hearts of residents and visitors, symbolizing a period of spiritual contemplation, community bonding, and family gatherings. In Al-Balad, this sacred month not only honors fasting and prayer, but also embraces joyous festivities that highlight the city’s unique heritage and warm hospitality.
Organized by the Saudi Ministry of Culture, Ramadan Season events span across 30 activation zones, including restaurants, cafes, traditional food stalls, traditional performances, workshops, markets, cultural exhibitions, interactive experiences, and a dedicated kids’ corner.
At the entrance to Bab Al-Balad, visitors are welcomed with traditional Saudi coffee and captivating folklore dance performances, accompanied by camel rides for children. Strolling through the district, visitors can witness the skilled shoemakers, known as kharazon, showcasing their craft live to the delight of spectators.
The streets are lined with traditional exhibits, from the miller displaying quilts, sofas, and cushions to a vendor presenting ancient cosmetic tools, such as kohl and derm.
Saeed Al-Ghamdi, a currency collector showcasing his treasures, said: “I cherish the vibrant atmosphere of Ramadan in Al-Balad, where the community comes together to appreciate and learn about currency.”
He added: “For over 55 years, I have been devoted to currency collection, both paper and coin. I possess coins that date back more than 1,500 years.”
Hanan Aljarwani, a jewelry and art designer, captivates visitors with live embroidery demonstrations and displays of her exquisite work.
Ibrahim Jaafar, the founder of Modern Siwak, is taking part in the bazaar for the first time, introducing his innovative products and educating visitors on the significance of miswak, a traditional tooth-cleaning stick.
“Miswak has been important since the time of Prophet Muhammad. During Ramadan, there is a tendency to buy miswak for use during fasting. I offer the product in a convenient holder with airflow to maintain freshness and ease of reuse, which has been well-received by people,” Jaafar said.
Similarly, Hussein Al-Abdali, a skilled miswak craftsman in Al-Balad since the 1960s, expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Culture for providing a special booth to sell miswak and raise awareness about its benefits.
Al-Abdali said that miswak sticks are made from the roots of arak trees, which are found across Saudi Arabia, and he offers various types of miswak for medical benefits.
Bustling bazaars scattered throughout the district offer a variety of products, including thobes, jalabiya, jewelry, bakhoor, oud, perfumes, toys, and decorative lighting.
Maher, the founder of Wakan stores, said: “This marks my third participation in the Ramadan bazaar in Al-Balad. This year, I am presenting a unique collection of enhanced oud and perfumes.”
Abdul Hameed Shalabi, the owner of Sobia Bar, has attracted a bustling crowd to his shop, where he makes and serves sobia, a drink traditionally made from barley, flour, dry bread, and sugar that is especially popular during Ramadan.
“I strive to bring back the memories of sobia during Ramadan and promote it as a healthy drink year-round,” he said.
“By introducing drinks like tamer hindi and hibiscus, along with the unique labania ice cream, I aim to enhance and develop the Hijazi tradition, sharing it not only with locals but also visitors who come from different parts of the world.”
Sara Thagafi, founder of the Modern Art Training Center, has set up workshops during Ramadan Season, including various art sessions, candle making sessions, quick pottery experiences, and perfume-making experiences where visitors can mix their favorite scents to create their own mini-perfumes.
“We also have Ramadan giveaways and art supplies for kids. This is the first time we are offering these workshops during Ramadan. We are creating a unique experience where, instead of just buying items, we are encouraging visitors to create their own perfume while they shop,” she said.
Ahmed Abdo Ahwas, a resident of Al-Balad since 68 years who has constructed many of the district’s houses, said: “There is no place like Al-Balad in Ramadan. Everyone loves to visit. The environment and atmosphere is different during Ramadan. Traditional foods like kibdah, baleela, sandwiches, and fries have distinct flavors and tastes in this month. Al-Balad begins to embrace Ramadan well before its arrival, with each lane offering something special.”
Reflecting on Eid celebrations in Al-Balad, he added: “The festivities during Eid are distinct, too. The decorations are unique, featuring a variety of chocolates and sweets.”
Farah Hassan, who makes sure to visit Al-Balad during Ramadan, said: “It’s nostalgic to visit the place we have been coming to while growing up. Sampling the traditional drinks like sobia and exploring the flavors of Ramadan in Al-Balad was a culinary adventure. The vendors’ passion for their craft was evident in every sip and bite.”
Another visitor, Hamza Yousef, said: “Exploring the vibrant festivities of Ramadan was a truly immersive experience. From the traditional performances to the cultural exhibitions, every moment was filled with warmth and hospitality.”


Prince Majid Park blooms with entertainment, culture and fun for Jeddah Season

Characters dressed in costume greet guests with smiles and offer photo opportunities. (Supplied)
Characters dressed in costume greet guests with smiles and offer photo opportunities. (Supplied)
Updated 23 sec ago
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Prince Majid Park blooms with entertainment, culture and fun for Jeddah Season

Characters dressed in costume greet guests with smiles and offer photo opportunities. (Supplied)
  • Little friend land is a paradise for young adventurers, where children can immerse themselves in a world of Lego, unleash their imagination with whiteboards and paper, and enjoy a variety of engaging activities

JEDDAH: The highly anticipated Jeddah Season 2024 has officially launched with the opening of Prince Majid Park, the season’s first free zone. The park, the largest in Jeddah, promises a wide range of entertainment for all ages, from exhilarating shows to captivating cultural experiences.

Visitors enter a whimsical world, beginning in flower land, where flower-themed characters dressed in costume greet guests with smiles and offer photo opportunities. The centerpiece of the zone is a magnificent fountain, its cascading water dancing to music and creating a breathtaking visual spectacle.

Prince Majid Park goes beyond entertainment, providing a vibrant center for the community. (Supplied)

Next, art land offers a haven for budding artists and art enthusiasts, where children can unleash their creativity in workshops, crafting candles and engaging in various art projects. Skilled artists display their creativity and talent in dedicated booths, offering visitors the opportunity to have their portraits painted. Exhibitions by local artists provide a platform for artistic expression and cultural exchange.

“It’s incredibly enjoyable to share my art with the visitors,” said Mohammed Salim, an Egyptian artist, as he sketched a visitor’s portrait. “There are so many of us here, creating live drawings and paintings, either capturing the faces of the people who come by or working from images they bring us. It’s a wonderful way to showcase our talents and connect with people on a very personal level.”

Prince Majid Park goes beyond entertainment, providing a vibrant center for the community. (Supplied)

Little friend land is a paradise for young adventurers, where children can immerse themselves in a world of Lego, unleash their imagination with whiteboards and paper, and enjoy a variety of engaging activities.

Likewise, festival land is a vibrant hub for shopping, dining and games, where visitors can browse through a selection of shops, indulge in culinary delights at the food court, and enjoy live musical performances at the mini-stage.

Prince Majid Park goes beyond entertainment, providing a vibrant center for the community. (Supplied)

The main stage at Prince Majid Park transforms into a hub of entertainment, hosting four shows daily, with performances ranging from dazzling circus acts with breathtaking acrobatics to electrifying DJ sets that will leave audiences in wonder. For those seeking a tranquil escape, wood land offers a labyrinth game and a lush green area.  

Adding to the festive atmosphere, parade shows burst on to the scene every half hour, creating a whirlwind of energy and excitement. Each show lasts 30 minutes, adding a vibrant layer to the park’s atmosphere. A show by stilt walkers, with participants dressed in colorful costumes, adds a touch of eccentricity with three daily shows.

Prince Majid Park goes beyond entertainment, providing a vibrant center for the community. (Supplied)

For those seeking a break from the festivities, the park offers a spacious play area with swings and slides, ensuring fun for children of all ages.

“I’ve never seen a park quite like Prince Majid Park,” said Najm Fatima, a local resident. “It’s a vibrant explosion of colors, laughter and entertainment. It’s a place where everyone can find something to enjoy, whether you’re an art enthusiast, a thrill-seeker, or just looking for a relaxing day out.”

Prince Majid Park goes beyond entertainment, providing a vibrant center for the community. (Supplied)

Her friend, Sarah, said: “The kids are having a blast, especially with the stilt walkers and the Lego building area. It’s truly a place for families to make memories together.”

Mohammed Ali said that he had never seen children so enthralled by art as he watched a group of children excitedly sketching alongside him. “Their energy at Prince Majid Park is infectious, reminding us that art and performance can bring joy and wonder to people of all ages,” he said.

Prince Majid Park goes beyond entertainment, providing a vibrant center for the community. This grand celebration of Jeddah Season 2024 promises a memorable experience, offering attractions that cater to all tastes and interests.  

While entry to the park is free, visitors still need to book ticket online through the Saudi Events app.

 


4th edition of Khayrat Al-Baha Festival kicks off

4th edition of Khayrat Al-Baha Festival kicks off
Updated 40 sec ago
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4th edition of Khayrat Al-Baha Festival kicks off

4th edition of Khayrat Al-Baha Festival kicks off
  • Fahd Muftah: "the festival comprises 50 areas, 45 of which are dedicated to farmers and five to government agencies"

AL-BAHA: Jedaia Al-Qahtany, the assistant undersecretary for development affairs of Al-Baha, inaugurated on Friday the fourth edition of the Khayrat Al-Baha Festival at Al-Shafa Park under the patronage of Al-Baha Gov. Prince Hussam bin Saud.

Fahd Muftah, director of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture’s branch in Al-Baha, said the festival comprises 50 areas, 45 of which are dedicated to farmers and five to government agencies.

He said the five-day festival, along with various entertainment events, will organize workshops, seminars, and courses with the aim of developing farmers’ skills, marketing agricultural products, providing agricultural extension services, and raising awareness on topics pertaining to the field.

 


Saudi Embassy in Poland organizes celebration of UN’s adoption of Nov. 24 as World Conjoined Twins Day

Saudi Embassy in Poland organizes celebration of UN’s adoption of Nov. 24 as World Conjoined Twins Day
Updated 1 min 11 sec ago
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Saudi Embassy in Poland organizes celebration of UN’s adoption of Nov. 24 as World Conjoined Twins Day

Saudi Embassy in Poland organizes celebration of UN’s adoption of Nov. 24 as World Conjoined Twins Day
  • The Kingdom’s Conjoined Twins Program has treated around 139 sets of conjoined twins from countries around the world since its launch in 1990

WARSAW: The Saudi Embassy in Poland organized a cultural and educational event to celebrate the UN’s adoption of Nov. 24 of every year as World Conjoined Twins Day, an initiative by the Kingdom to raise awareness of these human conditions, celebrate achievements in the field of separation surgeries and introduce the Saudi Program for Conjoined Twins Separation.

The event was attended by Polish officials and parliamentarians, the Polish twins Daria and Olga Kolacz, the president and students of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Promoting Cultural and Educational Dialogue in Janikowo, Poland, and the city’s deputy mayor, as well as a number of media personnel and diplomats.

 

 


Madinah participates in Quality of Life and UN Habitat programs

Madinah participates in Quality of Life and UN Habitat programs
Updated 12 July 2024
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Madinah participates in Quality of Life and UN Habitat programs

Madinah participates in Quality of Life and UN Habitat programs
  • The event was held on the sidelines of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
  • Madinah achieved the gold level in the SDG Cities program, awarded by UN-Habitat

NEW YORK: The Madinah Region Development Authority took part in the “Quality of Life Initiative to Accelerate the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals”, an event organized by the Quality of Life Program — one of the initiatives under Saudi Vision 2030 — and the UN Human Settlements Program.
The event was held on the sidelines of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at UN headquarters in New York from July 8 to 18.
Participants included Nava Guerrero, the mayor of Queretaro, Mexico, and Abdulrahman bin Hassan Ibrahim, executive director of data and innovation at the MDRA.
He drew attention to Madinah’s efforts in localizing sustainable development goals and its selection as one of the first five cities in the global Quality of Life Index initiative. He also highlighted Saudi authorities’ efforts to localize sustainable development goals.
Madinah achieved the gold level in the SDG Cities program, awarded by UN-Habitat. This makes Madinah the first Saudi city, the first in the Arab world, and the third globally to receive this recognition.
UN-Habitat is a program that works for a better urban future by contributing to the development of socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements and ensuring adequate shelter for all.


Literacy campaign in Al-Baha reaches more than 1,400 students

Literacy campaign in Al-Baha reaches more than 1,400 students
Updated 12 July 2024
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Literacy campaign in Al-Baha reaches more than 1,400 students

Literacy campaign in Al-Baha reaches more than 1,400 students
  • The campaign operates through 32 educational centers across the region
  • The program aims to reach citizens in their local communities

RIYADH: A comprehensive literacy campaign in the Al-Baha region is currently serving 1,410 adult learners, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The initiative, dubbed “Al-Baha Without Illiteracy,” is a joint effort between the General Administration of Education in Al-Baha’s Al-Aqiq sector and several government agencies.
The campaign operates through 32 educational centers across the region, with 12 centers for men enrolling 390 students and 20 centers for women accommodating 1,057 learners. These centers are staffed by qualified educational and administrative personnel, supported by 27 additional participants.
Dr. Abdulkhaleq Al-Zahrani, director general of education in Al-Baha, highlighted the campaign’s alignment with national priorities. “Literacy promotion is a civilized approach championed by our leadership,” he said. “It is part of our commitment to lifelong learning and preparing an educated generation capable of serving their country and community.”
The program aims to reach citizens in their local communities, offering basic literacy skills alongside religious, cultural, social, and health education. It also emphasizes strengthening national identity and civic engagement.
Currently in its summer phase, the campaign has seen enthusiastic participation from adult learners eager to acquire reading and writing skills. The curriculum extends beyond basic literacy to include enhancing national belonging sense, digital literacy, health awareness, environmental education, and learning to use electronic systems and applications.
According to SPA, the initiative brings together resources from government agencies and non-profit organizations to deliver a holistic educational experience. It aims to develop life skills and achieve educational and cultural goals, ensuring quality education for all beneficiaries. Its objectives also include reducing illiteracy rates, fostering patriotism and love for the country and its leadership, and raising awareness on various religious, societal, health, economic, environmental, and cultural issues.