Sharjah Heritage Days intertwines global traditions - GulfToday

Sharjah Heritage Days intertwines global traditions

Sharjah Heritage Days

The event offers an opportunity for UAE residents and tourists a chance to savour the essence of Emirati heritage and its intrinsic values. WAM

The heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future. The remark of Wendell Phillips, 19th-century American social reformer, is particularly relevant now as the 18th annual edition of Sharjah Heritage Days takes off on Mar.20.

The grand multinational event offers an opportunity for UAE residents and tourists a chance to, first and foremost, savour the essence of Emirati heritage and its intrinsic values.

It also showcases the many dimensions of global cultures as 29 countries will be unveiling their customs and traditions.

The three-week festival from March 20 - April 10, is organised by the Sharjah Institute for heritage (SIH) and embodies the vision of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to enrich our future by opening a window to our past.

Themed ‘Cultural Heritage Gathers Us’, this edition of Sharjah Heritage Days is turning the spotlight on the Republic of Montenegro as Guest of Honour.

Steeped in history, the Heart of Sharjah district and the Khorfakkan Heritage Area will be the two hubs of the celebration, where artists, chefs, intellectuals, artisans, and leading cultural entities will be engaging audiences with dances, traditional foods, arts and crafts, clothing, unique to their cultures.

It is not just Sharjah that is a lodestar of tradition. The UAE as a whole has been keen on preserving heritage in other parts of the world too, mainly due to such adverse circumstances as conflict, natural disasters or climate change.

In 2020, ten world historical landmarks were witness to the UAE’s efforts to conserve and protect global heritage sites.

The landmarks restored by Emirati support include the Dome of the Rock; Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem; Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo; McMillan Library in Nairobi and other landmarks.

This goes to show that the country is keen to provide all forms of financial and moral support to protect and restore historic religious landmarks in many countries around the world.

The UAE does not discriminate against any creed, race or culture in its efforts to restore heritage and historical landmarks.

The UAE’s efforts to preserve human heritage has helped it spread the culture of tolerance and promote peaceful coexistence around the world.

What makes Sharjah Heritage Days particularly unique this year is the fact that it is being held under extraordinary circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic. The festival reinforces Sharjah’s message that preserving our heritage and sharing our identity with others safeguards humankind as a whole and brings people together, revealing our similarities to each other.

Those who visit the various venues showcasing the activities will have to topline health safety, by taking precautions to see that the dreaded virus is kept at bay.

Vibrant folk performances from Belarus, Macedonia, Bashkortostan, Tajikistan, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, and Montenegro, will introduce visitors to new cultures while Emirati folkloric arts and dances – Ayyala, Nuban, Andima, Razif and Rawahh, Harbiya, Liwa, Habban, and Daan – will highlight the heritage and rich culture of the country.

Nine countries, including Yemen, Palestine, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, India and Pakistan, will demonstrate the artistry of their diverse cultures and heritage through colourful performances.

A new addition to the Sharjah Heritage Days this year is the Oasis of Reading that will be home to works from the Al Mawrooth Library and several local publishers.

Truly, the event plays a vital role in boosting Sharjah’s tourism appeal and supporting the national economy. It also reminds us that heritage is that special link, which connects our past to our present and future. Heritage binds the community like nothing else and fosters a spirit of understanding among people of different cultures and traditions.

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