WAM ABU DHABI, June 9th, 2013 — Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the Festivals and Cultural and Heritage Programmes Committee – Abu Dhabi will organize the 9th edition of the Liwa Date Festival from the 18th to the 25th of July, 2013 in Liwa city in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region (Al Gharbia).
The unique event, which boasts a heritage dimension and prides itself on keeping alive many aspects of history and past civilisation, seeks to dig into desert secrets, tales of local people and their rich heritage.
For the first time, the activities of the new edition of the Festival, which offers prizes totalling Dh 5 million (US$ 1. 36 million), will coincide with the Holy Month of Ramadan. The special ambiance of the Holy Month will likely impart distinguished flavours on the significant event. A large public turnout is expected as the Festival will open its doors to visitors on a daily basis, after fast-breaking dinner (Iftar), from 8.00 p.m. to 01.00 a.m. Participation will also be open as usual on a daily basis during the morning session.
The Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee for the Liwa Date Festival, and Culture and Heritage Advisor at the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Chairman of the Festivals and Cultural and Heritage Programs Committee – Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, hailed the distinguished position the Festival occupies on the agenda of regional heritage events. “The one-of-a-kind Festival offers an exclusive celebration of the dates’ season, which was considered by our ancestors as the beginning of a new season of abundant blessings,” he said.
Mazrouei expressed his pride at the high level presented by participants in the previous edition, which numbered more than 1,500. He also expressed his appreciation for the keenness of all participants to maintain their cultural, and social legacy, and the palm-tree related crafts of ancestors, “Who have transmitted their skills and knowledge to younger generations so as to ensure the continuity of this deep-rooted heritage.” “With this year’s edition, the Liwa Date Festival will be consolidating its status as a landmark heritage and tourism venue in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi,” Mazrouei said.
“This national event also serves to heighten competitiveness and encourage awareness about the dates’ quality. It highlights the importance of exchanging technical expertise between farmers so as to promote UAE date production to ever higher standards of excellence, with the required awareness about the importance of maintaining the healthy natural properties of the product, without any chemical additives,” he added.
He noted that the Festival had managed to achieve consecutive successes year after year, thanks to its ability to offer innovation. “Al Gharbia in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi provides a large crop of this important product, thanks to which the UAE, the world’s leading date exporter, has managed to gain an international reputation,” he said.
Mazrouei hailed the gesture of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, when he awarded 10,000 palm tree seedlings to Emirati farmers who participated and won at the 8th edition of the Liwa Date Festival 2012.
“The gesture of His Highness came to honour palm tree lovers, among winners and participants in the Festival. The seedlings were from the finest varieties produced by the laboratories of the UAE University’s Date Palm Research and Development Unit,” Mazrouei said.
Director of Liwa Date Festival, Mr. Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, revealed some of the many surprises for the 9th edition, notably the organisation, for the first time, of three promotion rounds for varieties of Dabbas, Khallas and Nukhba. The three rounds are intended for participants who have never won in any of the previous editions of the Festival. The objective consists in rewarding these participants for their continued partaking, as well as motivating and encouraging them to make further efforts to compete with others, and support the UAE’s cultural heritage.
“The Festival’s Committee is always keen to support all participants, without exception. During the previous edition, the Organizing Committee bought different varieties of ripe dates from farmers at a cost of two million Dirhams. The winners were awarded 160 prizes worth 4.2 million Dirhams to reward them for the high quality of their production and the adoption of the best farming methods,” said Mr. Al Mazrouei.
With 15 winners in each new promotion round, the total prize money for the 9th edition will be approximately AED five million, awarded to more than 200 participants.
Mr. Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei explained that Ratab Beauty Competition, the main attraction at the Festival, would include seven varieties: Khanizi, Khallas, Dabbas, Abu Maan, Fardh, Nukhba, and A’adj.
The varieties for Best Mango and Best Lemons Competitions, which are held for the third time as part of the Liwa Date Festival, include local and mixed varieties. These will be complemented by the Best Heritage Show.