Thousands visit Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival in just four days

The annual fest features a wide range of attractions and interactive exhibitions that reflect the Emirati heritage

Thousands of people have visited the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival in only four days.

The annual three month fest kicked off on Friday. It features interactive exhibitions that reflect Emirati heritage.

Children can pet falcons and salukis and there is a little village for the young ones.

On Monday evening, a group of children gathered around a saluki and two falcons to learn about hunting in the desert.

The animals were brought in by the Emirates Falconers’ Club.

The new generation has limited knowledge about how their ancestors survived in the past, so they like to come to us to learn

“We teach children and adults how to hunt with the help of salukis, how to start a fire, and how to survive in the desert,” said Zainab Abed El Nabi, a representative from the club.

The club teaches young children about Emirati culture.

“The new generation has limited knowledge about how their ancestors survived in the past, so they like to come to us to learn,” Ms Nabi said.

There was also a white falcon that children could pet.

“This is known as the golden falcon because its tail has seven feathers. It represents the seven emirates of the UAE,” she said.

Muhannad Al Zubaidi, 33, a Jordanian finance controller from the US was one of the visitors at the festival.

He came to the festival to know more about the cultural heritage of the Emirates and the way communities lived in the past.

Mr Zubaidi and his wife are in Abu Dhabi to visit relatives.

“This is my second outing after I finished the two-week quarantine,” he said.

All international visitors in Abu Dhabi must abide by a two-week home quarantine to control the spread of Covid-19.

“I finished my quarantine two days back. Yesterday, I went to Al Bateen and today I came here,” he said.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, November 23, 2020.   Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival celebrations at Al Wathba.  Visitors enjoy the lights and sound fountain display.
Victor Besa/The National
Reporter:  Samia Badih
Section:  NA
For:  Standalone/Stock

“This is perfect, there is open air, space and so much diversity here.”

Mr Zubaidi said he tried local food at a traditional restaurant.

On a stage nearby, the Abu Dhabi Police music band played local tunes for visitors.

The officers played an unusual electric violin.

“It has many techniques. For instance, it could give you the sound of a saxophone, so you won’t need to add an extra instrument to the band,” said violinist Anas Zuhri.

The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority has a kiosk at the fest. They sell a variety of organic locally-produced fruits and vegetables, and honey hand-picked by Ahmad Al Mazrouei, an Emirati bee-keeper.

Mr Mazrouei was not a bee-keeper but left his military life to trade in honey. He said he was convinced that honey could boost fertility and that was a strong reason for him to sell it to others.

Mr Mazrouei, 40, said his wife could not bear a child despite getting medical help.

He said a mixture of honey and the beehive gel, known to Arabs as the ‘nutrient of the queen-bee’ treated his wife.

Today, the couple has seven children.

“When I started to search for the honey and gel, I realised that there was a lot of inaccuracy and room for cheating in the honey market,” he said.

Mr Al Mazrouei took the advice of a friend and now produces his own honey.

“He gave me six boxes of bees from his farm, and told me to experiment with them,” he said.

Mr Al Mazrouei has farms across the UAE and produces organic honey.