Cities turn green and white for National Day

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Updated 24 September 2014

Cities turn green and white for National Day

Saudi cities are going green and white with the nation's flags and banners on lampposts in the main streets and highways, and citizens wearing their national colors proudly, to mark the founding of the country 84 years ago.
Students in the capital were clear what green meant to them. “It symbolizes growth, new life and peace. It represents spring, youth and determination, which makes us feel great about our beloved Kingdom,” said one student.
“The national flag is green with the white Arabic testimony of our faith — there is no god worthy of worship except the Almighty Allah and Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is His messenger,” another student said.
As part of the national celebrations, hotels in Riyadh are also going green. Some have special programs lined up, including having staff greet guests wearing thobes in the colors of the national flag.
In addition, retailers in the capital are selling clothing and flags in national colors. A sales executive at a city hypermarket told Arab News that the items include green-colored stationery, clothes, balloons and toys.
Schools in Asir have the National Day celebrations in full swing, with around 1,300 schools for girls and boys participating over the past few days in contests, and singing patriotic songs.
Madinah education department officials, led by Director-General Nasser Abdulkarim, have also launched various celebratory events. Abdulkarim congratulated Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman and Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin for helping the country to achieve its economic success.
Marzooq bin Hamad Al-Zaydi, the director of Al-Nassiryah primary school, said the events organized included poetry contests, debates for students, seminars and lectures, and art workshops.
The Makkah municipality has linked up with Rawad Media to have special events at King Abdulaziz Sports City. Mamdouh Salem, artistic director of the gathering, said the 14 events include traditional dances, songs, paintings by artist Khalid Jamali and poetry by Abdul Rahman Al-Harthy.
“There will also be a very special film about the founding of the Kingdom and the country's achievements from the time of founder King Abdul Aziz to the current era of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. This is to educate the youth about the country's history,” he said.
In Jeddah, Saudi students have already brought some cheer to patients at hospitals by distributing fruit, flowers and Saudi flags, and singing folk songs. Khalid Abdullah, a high school student, said: “It feels good to see them momentarily forget their suffering while we played some music. They enjoyed our stay.”
Ahmed Al-Harbi, a school director, said: “Volunteering provides young Saudis the opportunity to serve the community, get exposure and gain rewards. It also inspires them to become doctors and nurses and make a difference in the lives of patients.”
Jeddah will host a series of cultural events including laser shows and musical programs by famous Saudi singers.
Osama S. Tayyib, rector of King Abdulaziz University, formally launched National Day celebrations on Monday on the university's campus with several foreign guests. Tayyeb praised the Kingdom's rulers for helping the country become a safe and prosperous nation.
The Jeddah municipality has organized a series of mega events "that will reflect the national spirit,” said Ali Saeed Al-Ghamdi, a member of the organizing committee and senior municipal official, on Monday. He said that the municipality has already set up 3,000 flags and 1,000 electric signboards with pictures of the country's leaders.
Popular Saudi singers Abdul Majid Abdullah, Raba Saqr, Rashed Al-Majid and Rashed Al-Farsi are holding concerts at the corniche, he added. The fireworks backed by international companies will be displayed at Obhur Junoobiya, Obhur Shimaliya, Central Corniche, Nawaras roundabout, opposite the Hilton Hotel and East Corniche. The landmark fountain will operate for six hours with a multicolored laser and sound system.
In Wadi Al-Dawasir in the Najd region, students aged 9 to 12 of the Nuayma Qur’anic School decorated the dialysis ward at a local hospital with Saudi flags and cheered up patients with gifts, flowers and sweets. Several scouts of the school volunteered to celebrate the National Day as part of their community service.
School principal Abu Dahash said a community assistance initiative at local hospitals is part of an international scout's project. “To celebrate the day, we planned this unique program to introduce youngsters to the Islamic values of helping others and to enhance their involvement in community services.”
In the Eastern Province, Gov. Prince Saud bin Naif is sponsoring National Day celebrations on Tuesday at Sultan bin Abdulaziz Science and Technology Center (SciTech). Many events and fireworks displays will be held.

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.