Mamoun Shuqair poses for photograph.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The Sharjah Heritage Days (SHD), taking place in the historic Heart of Sharjah district until April 10, is showcasing the unique customs and traditions of the UAE and 29 other countries. Besides the UAE, traditional Arab heritage from countries like Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Sudan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Algeria, Syria, Tunisia and Iraq is also highlighted at the event.
An exhaustive variety of locally-sourced handmade items and handicrafts are displayed at the Lebanon stall in the ‘World Heritage Village’, run by Fatima Matouk and Mamoun Shuqair, including trinkets like woodcarvings and keychains featuring quotes and religious inscriptions.
It also stocks a variety of handmade soaps and fragrances reflecting the geo- and ecodiversity of Lebanon, in varieties like charcoal, lavender, coffee, oud, milk, honey, etc.
The wooden carvings and trinkets are fashioned by Shuqair, while Matouk also sells her collection of self-designed traditional Lebanese dresses. The flowy garments with lengthy, loose sleeves are worn with the cone-shaped “tantour” headdress. “Traditionally, the groom buys this hat for his bride-to-be to wear on their wedding day, and its height and quality reflected his status. The really wealthy folk even wear tantours accessorised with gold and set with precious stones,” explains Matouk.
Shuqair and Matouk are not just creative artists, they are also musicians, with the former playing the oud and the latter a singer of traditional Lebanese songs. While their music focuses on their heritage, they also blend eastern and western music in their repertoire; for instance, Shuqair strums “Despacito” on his traditional instrument, much to the delight of onlookers. Mostly, they perform as a duo with Matouk crooning Arabic numbers to the tunes of Shuqair’s oud.
They travel the world entertaining at several cultural events and educating people about Lebanese traditions and creative arts, but until April 10, you will find them at Sharjah Heritage Days, performing in the evening entertainment segments.
Open to both amateurs and professionals, the closing date for receiving entries in the architecture and people-based categories is April 5.
Organised by Sharjah Institute for Heritage (SIH), the annually held Sharjah Heritage Days will run for three weeks, from March 20 to April 10, at the Heart of Sharjah’s Heritage Area and the Khorfakkan Heritage Area.
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