By Joseph Varghese
Around half-a-million people are expected to visit the 10-day Halal Hal Fest, Qatar organised by Katara – the Cultural Village Foundation, Katara general manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti has said.
Dr al-Sulaiti opened the festival by cutting the ribbon to the accompaniment of traditional Arab music and dances at Katara yesterday.
Halal Hal Qatar Festival, which is in its third edition, is drawing thousands of participants and visitors from neighbouring GCC countries. “All the GCC countries are taking part in the festival. There is a dramatic increase in the number of participants as more and more people want to participate in this edition. We also expect a large number of people from neighbouring countries to visit the festival during these days. At the last festival, we had almost half-a-million visitors and we expect to cross the number this year,” said Dr al-Sulaiti.
“The purpose of the festival is to link the new generation with the older generations and their ways of living. We want to familiarise them with how the previous generations were living and thinking in those days. This is a way to instil a sense of our culture and traditions among the children and the youth,” he added.
The GCC countries are participating in the festival with different breeds of Arabian sheep. “All the sheep are brought from different GCC countries and some of them are worth up to half a million Qatari riyals. In addition, we have an exhibition of traditional items and a traditional Qatari house and majlis at the venue,” said the official.
There are also a number of stalls that display various indigenous products from the GCC countries. “They include clothes, dry fruits, art and craft items, food items, pictures and popular games. The arrangements for the exhibition are better than last year. The place is wide and larger than the previous years,” Dr al-Sulaiti added.
The festival has three main activities – Al Mazayen, Al Mazad and Al Izab. Al Mazayen is a show for the best goats and sheep and offers prizes for the first five winners. Al Mazad involves the sale of livestock through auction. The third features a group of barns with each one containing different kinds of livestock and visitors being able to observe and study them closely.
The owners of the livestock are participating in the festival and providing visitors with information about the livestock. There are also veterinary professionals at the venue to give information on how to look after the animals.