DUBAI // The Heritage and Diving Village in Bur Dubai offered a traditional taste of UAE life as a cultural celebration unfolded to mark National Day.
Handicraft workshops, traditional dance troupes, cartoon character shows and markets selling locally sourced produce were some of the attractions that drew thousands of people to the creekside.
The country’s heritage was on show, with a photographic exploration of how Dubai has developed in the 44 years of the Union, both culturally and economically.
Nabil Salim, 26, who works for the Ministry of Education, was part of the Saeed Al Mazyood band that performed traditional razafat and yola dances to celebrate the special day.
“There are more than 100 people who have been invited to join the team band,” he said.
“We do not practise for this kind of dancing, just get up an dance together. There are specific movements for this kind of dance, and it is used for every kind of Arabic celebration.
“This style of dancing is not just for National Day, but also for weddings and other special occasions.”
The performances involved spinning swords and throwing batons in the air, all in time to traditional music. The band performs all across the country.
Ahmed Mohammad, 25, who works for the Ministry of Housing, was also part of the troupe.
“It has been amazing to see so many people here, and not just Emiratis,” he said.
“It warms the heart to see so many flags of my country here in Dubai, hopefully we can help to educate people here about our country and the culture here.”
Other attractions included traditional crafts like those of Nawal Bidew, who was showing people how to make jelabia and thobes using techniques that had been passed down through generations of her family.
“My ancestors used to use silver to help decorate the garments, but it is very expensive that way,” she said.
“This kind of embroidery is rarely used now as machines often do this kind of work, but the garments that we make are very special because they are sewn by hand. They are usually worn for special occasions.”
It can take a month to make a single garment, once the silver threading process has been done. Visitors were also shown how pillows, mattresses and sofa cushions were once made.
Shukkoor Mohammed, an Indian accountant, was at the creekside with his wife Fasna and daughter Nia Fathima, 4. This was the family’s fourth consecutive year visiting the Heritage Centre on National Day.
“Every year we come here and it gets more popular,” he said.
“It is a great celebration for the country and helps people like me to learn about the UAE. There are lots of different things for us as a family to do,”
Rashed Al Hebsi, who was visiting for the day from Abu Dhabi, said: “I have just seen the village, but is a very important idea to show how the country has grown, especially to people who have arrived here from elsewhere in the world.
“It makes me proud.”