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Saudi Arabia is a melting pot of culture, heritage, art and crafts. And contrary to popular belief not all festivals are religious in nature. There is an interesting mix of cultural, folk, international, and religious festivals for you to experience during your trip.
Here are some of the top must-visit festivals in Saudi Arabia you can look forward while you visit.
The Al Janadriyah national festival is Saudi Arabia’s biggest folk and cultural festival. This vibrant one-of-a-kind festival is held over two weeks every year in late winter to early spring, usually around February.
The festival venue is just a half-hour drive from the capital Riyadh. The best way to get there is to rent a car and drive down or you could hire a cab.
You can expect a Saudi slice-of-life village fair kind of experience at Al Janadriyah. Exciting horse and camel races are the highlights of this lively festival. Falconry is another unique event you’ll get to see. Watch folk artists perform traditional dances like the Ardah and Mizmar and listen to poetry recitations by some talented poets. A must-try is the traditional Saudi tea service of cardamom coffee, sweet hot mint tea and dates.
Keep a look out for some great bargains for carpets, lamps and other items from local artisans and craftsmen who come from all over the country to display and sell their wares at Al Janadriyah. There are stalls put up by each province of Saudi Arabia to showcase their region’s heritage art and crafts.
Showcasing the best of Saudi life, the Jeddah Festival is another must-visit since it has something for everyone so you’re sure to have a great time. The festival has a friendly, cosmopolitan vibe that makes visitors from all across the world feel welcome and relaxed.
This annual festival is held during June-July in the beautiful western port city of Jeddah – Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city and a cultural hub. Jeddah happens to be situated quite close to the best private beaches in the country. So you may want to make the most of your trip by combining a wonderful beach vacation along with visiting the festival.
Jeddah festival is quite grand and organised on a very large scale. You can watch the magnificent opening fireworks display then go take a look at the various stalls, purchase some fine local handicrafts, relish authentic Saudi dishes and participate in more than 200 exciting events.
Similar to India and other parts of the world, Saudi Muslims celebrate Eid ul-Fitr or the last day of the holy month of Ramadan when they break their month-long fast. In Saudi Arabia, it is celebrated over three days.
If you have a Saudi host you could also enjoy the lavish Eid feast with traditional delicacies. It is also a good time to go shopping as many shopkeepers offer free gifts on all purchases during Eid ul-Fitr.
While you’re busy enjoying the festivities at these crowded public places, there may be pickpockets and petty thieves lurking around. Stay vigilant at all times and guard your personal belongings well. Be especially careful of your wallet and all important travel documents such as your passport, Saudi Arabia visa, international driving licence, Saudi Arabia travel insurance and carry them with you in a secure manner. Travel insurance will protect you in case of any loss or damage so be sure to purchase an international travel insurance policy online before you leave India.
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