The festival, which revived traditions threatened with extinction, was held in coordination with the office of the Yemeni Ministry of Culture on the island of Socotra and with the generous support of the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation for Humanitarian Works, in Zayed Residential City, in the south of the province located in the Indian Ocean.
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In conjunction, the Emirates Red Crescent Authority, with the honor of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, organized a group wedding for 200 young men and women, at the end of the Sheikh Zayed Heritage and Cultural Festival.
And this Saturday evening, the sixth Sheikh Zayed Football Championship, which is held in coordination with the Yemeni Football Association branch in Socotra and with the support of the Khalifa bin Zayed Foundation for Humanitarian Works, will conclude, as the last event of the festival.
The final match brings together Al Wasl and Al Sharq clubs at the Rabdan Sports and Cultural Stadium in Socotra. The tournament, like other activities of the Sheikh Zayed Cultural Heritage Festival, has been marked by a wide audience since its launch on June 28.
Since its launch in late June, the Sheikh Zayed Festival has formed a cultural and heritage space that has brought back the ancestral heritage of Socotra generations, and created an opportunity for a local experience that highlights a mixture of Socotra folklore and the beauty of nature, which has been on the UNESCO list of human heritage since 2008.
Socotra praises the UAE’s support for heritage
The Governor of Socotra, Raafat Al-Thaqali, and with him the representative of the Emirates Red Crescent in the governorate, Saeed Al Kaabi, participated in the fifth mass wedding of 200 grooms and brides from the governorate, which comes within the mass weddings of the Crescent to support the stability of youth and strengthen the fabric of the Yemeni people.
Governor Al-Thaqali congratulated “the grooms on the occasion of their auspicious marriage, expressing his thanks and appreciation to the brothers in the United Arab Emirates for their sincere stand by the people of Socotra in various fields,” according to a statement of the local authority received by Al-Ain News.
The Yemeni official pointed out that Socotra lived in an atmosphere of happiness and joy with the marriage of 200 grooms and brides from the province’s people, praising the support of the brothers in the UAE, the true and lasting bond of the archipelago and its contribution to alleviating many of the suffering of the people of the island.
The mass wedding included a number of artistic paragraphs presented by folk groups and poems that express the joy that prevailed in Socotra at the marriage of a constellation of its young sons, as well as a lunch in Zayed City 1, Sitroh area for the newlyweds, in the presence of local, security and military authority leaders, social figures and a group of citizens.
In addition, the Governor of Socotra witnessed the honoring of the conclusion of a number of Sheikh Zayed’s cultural heritage activities, including the governorate’s poet competition, the heritage caravan and the purebred camel race.
On the poetic side, 12 poets competed over 4 days within the festival’s activities. The poet Ali Saeed bin Majid won the Socotra poet Bayrak for the year 2022 after winning on the final day of the competition in which he competed with poets Jamaan Al-Sulaimi and Abdullah Hasher.
In the heritage convoy, 37 camels, including 6 women and 40 camels, participated and made their way over a period of 5 days, starting from the town of “Je’a”, the area of the Sultans, to the site of the festival.
The heritage convoy toured valleys, reefs, hills, the obstacle of “Malhan” and the “Shezab” area, and then to “Mutif” and from there to “Muhafarhin”, passing through the coastal strip “Nujad” and reaching the site of the Sixth Sheikh Zayed Festival in Zayed City 1 in the “Strowa” area to participate in the closing events of the festival .
The Governor of Socotra also witnessed the conclusion of the purebred camel race with a distance of 4 km, and during honoring the winners of the first place in the events, Al-Thaqali praised the role of the Khalifa bin Zayed Foundation for holding annually a heritage and cultural festival for all professional, handicraft and sports for young people and girls.
Reviving the character of the ancestors
The Sheikh Zayed Cultural Heritage Festival in its sixth edition in Socotra revived the authentic Socotra culture, especially Socotri poetry, as well as the traditional crafts of the ancestors, and brought the oldest sports back to the fore, such as camel-jumping and backpacker caravans.
According to the festival’s coordinator, Mohammed Thani Al Socotri, to Al Ain News, the festival revived the original Socotri heritage and revived ancient legacies that were threatened with extinction, in addition to encouraging traditional handicrafts and marine crafts, which are a Source of pride for the Socotri people on this island.
The Khalifa Bin Zayed Foundation for Humanitarian Works also presented various cultural questions under the supervision of the festival committee, as well as the establishment of the sports league, which was launched alongside the activities of the Socotra heritage revival.
Al Socotri thanked the UAE government and people for supporting this festival through its humanitarian arms, which contributed to the revitalization of the cultural and artistic aspects of this island and the consolidation of the thorny relationship between the Emirati and Yemeni peoples.
For his part, Socotra activist Saeed Salem Abu Wazir spoke about the various events held by the Sheikh Zayed Festival, including the football league, the budget competition for dates, the camel competition, highlighting the Socotri heritage, Socotri customs, and Socotri cuisine, highlighted by Socotra cuisine.
In addition to “the traditional industries of women and men, and the heritage of the sea from the handicrafts of ancestors, which the festival revived for the younger generations,” according to the Socotri activist.
Abu Wazir said in a statement to “Al-Ain News”, “What the UAE offers to Socotra is countless through various projects, most notably the Sheikh Zayed Cultural Heritage Festival, which is being held for the sixth time in this city, which bears the name of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. south of the island lying in the Indian Ocean.
He added, “Emirati projects in Socotra extended to health, electricity, water, transporting patients’ cases, as well as strong support for state institutions and the local authority. It has also previously provided more than 161 housing units for families affected by hurricanes that struck the archipelago in the past years.”
Residents in these housing units receive all basic services in addition to recreational and educational services, as are the people of Socotra, who receive this support with much loyalty and thanks to the wise Emirati leadership, according to activist Abu Wazir.
The Yemeni province of Socotra consists of an archipelago of 6 islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of the Horn of Africa near the Gulf of Aden, 380 km (240 miles) south of the Arabian Peninsula, and is considered the largest of the Arab islands.