By Raynald C Rivera | The Peninsula
Doha: The highly popular annual Halal Qatar Festival presented by the Cultural Village Foundation (Katara) marks a milestone as it turns 10 this year.
Announcing the heritage event via its official social media accounts yesterday, Katara said the festival will be held from February 13 to 21 at the Cultural Village’s Southern Area.
When this nine-day event kicks off next month, Katara will once again be a one-stop shop as in the previous year as the festival coincides with the Mahaseel Souq whose location is adjacent to the festival venue.
The previous editions of the festival which focuses on livestock breeding and trade as an important aspect of Qatari culture attracted a large number of visitors for its unique features. The major highlights of the festival included Al Mazad — public auction of Halal (sheep and goats), Al Izab — barns where different breeds of halal such as Syrian and Arab sheep are showcased, and the Al Mazain — a competition for the most beautiful sheep and goats.
Apart from auctions, competitions and exhibitions, educational activities were also held at last year’s festival which also featured a Bedouin tent where the process of Sadu and making other related handicrafts were demonstrated to visitors. There were also a number of stalls where traditional handicrafts and food were sold.
Before the discovery of oil, Qatar was chiefly inhabited by Bedouins who were highly skilled in the practice of livestock-raising, and for centuries, the tribes had relied mainly on fishing, pearl diving and animal husbandry as sources of their livelihood. Through Halal Qatar Festival, Katara looks back to the country’s humble beginnings in an attempt to preserve an important aspect of its rich heritage for present and future generations to get in touch with their traditions.
The Festival offers the public a rare insight into the livestock industry allowing them to journey into this essential aspect of Qatari culture deeply ingrained in their traditions.
Halal Qatar will be located in the same area of Mahaseel Souq which offers fresh vegetables, honey, dairy and meat products during Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays turning the festival into a one-stop-shop. The products which also include organic produce are sold at Mahaseel Souq by local farms at very competitive prices.