Media Center

03 May 2012 First review of Heritage Festival

To experience Bahrain’s culture and absorb its subtleties, the ideal place to visit this weekend is the Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre in Sanabis that is open every evening from 4pm to 9pm until May 9. A range of festivities and activities have been organized here as part of the Ministry of Culture’s 20th Heritage Festival – Folk Tales: Sea.. Land..City.

True to its name, the feel of the place take visitors back in time, when nature seeped into households with the abundant use of wood, roughly woven cloth, mud huts and low roofs. Although a donkey cart was nowhere to be seen, some of the primary modes of transport - the dhows and the bicycles, have been integrated into the ambience.

Eager to give a complete sense of Bahrain’s culture that has been passed down generations, through stories, songs, dance forms, wedding rituals and festivities, organizers have taken pains to demarcate the various sections of the hall into a children’s corner, market place, coffee shop, theatre and exhibition centre.

Local craftsmen - potters, carpenters, weavers, perfumeries, traditional sweet makers and many more give a live demonstration of their art while they have their wares are for sale. Neighboring Arab states have also been given prominence and guests can learn more about traditional Palestine, complete with its music, exquisite embroidery and food products until Friday, May 4, followed by Yemen and Sudan.

One of the attractions, that can interest families with children is a special corner dedicated to activities for the under-18s. Here every evening a narrator will retell a folk tale in Arabic to a group of children who squat beside her, as they would have done in the bygone days.

Close by in an enclosed hut three puppeteers - Ramadhan Yusuf, Ahmed Jassim and Abdul Rahman Bu Bader, are ready with their homemade puppets – Ananeeyo and friends, music and song to entertain their young audience with stories of the past.

Although the language is Arabic, the elaborate actions, help the non-Arabic speaker to understand the gist of the act. One of their popular stories was to remind the audience of the simple games that children loved to play on sandy grounds with sticks and stones, traditional hop scotch and marbles.

At the other end, teenage boys and girls walked the ramp to display the beauty of time-honored costumes and styles. The girls looked lovely decked in beautiful colorful jalabiyas with rich zari and embroidery; traditional jewels on their heads and hands decorated with henna. The young men were not to be outdone as they wore cream and mustard colored thobs with matching white headwear in the style that would have been worn by their forefathers.

For those who prefer to create with their hands a variety of workshops have been arranged between 5pm and 7pm. They include decorating the heeya beeya basket, a tradition during Eid Al Adha when children learn the meaning of sacrifice by throwing decorated baskets of grass into the sea; making paper kites, paper boats, gerga’aon bags and carvings using traditional materials and accessories.

For details of all events visit

Participation in the 43rd Fine Arts Exhibition Bahrain Map