Muscat: Visitors to the 2013 Muscat Festival, which concluded on Thursday, had more reasons to cheer this year. With over 100 events on display, the Muscat Festival 2013 kicked off to an exciting start for people from all walks of life and provided them opportunities to glimpse the rich Omani art, culture and heritage.
This year, Al Amerat Park and Naseem Garden hosted Muscat Festival 2013. Both locations were picturesque, with dazzling lights at every nook and corner. The quaint sites drew large numbers of visitors.
The festival was packed with concerts, music shows, laser displays, dazzling fireworks, sports, and fashion events. It was also a treat for the art-loving public, as there were displays at every corner showcasing Oman's rich cultural traditions, crafts, dance, songs, as well as marine, desert and agricultural milieu.
Speaking to Times of Oman, Chaitanya, who has lived in Muscat for two years and is working at DR Engineering said, "I especially like the fireworks-laser show, which was a treat to watch. The global village accentuated Oman's traditional legacy. I will miss Muscat Festival and am looking forward to the festival next year," he added.
Heritage Village showcased the pattern of a typical Omani village, with a variety of settings. Oman's culture was put on display in tents where volunteers greeted visitors and offered them a glimpse of traditional life. The forum sought to encourage productive families, mainly women, highlighting the products they create, innovations and way of life.
Also, visitors had the opportunity to observe Oman's numerous traditions and products.
These included a number of crafts, such as palm frond products, wool processing and dyeing, incense, reshaped brass, silverware, jewelry, pottery, doors and wooden boxes (manadis), fabrics, bast rope frond processing (zufana), boat making, palm leaves materials and mat manufacturing.
The Lane of Artisans exemplified the variety of nomadic, desert and marine environments, with its intrinsic architecture coupled with lighting. At least 3,000 people, including craftsmen, artists, musical troupes and workers, played a vital role in the success of the festival.
"This festival was lovely. The Omani heritage village and tradition was fabulous. Coming to this festival, I got to know about Oman's culture and traditions. I will be eagerly awaiting the festival in the coming year," Dhara Parek, a resident of Wadi Kabir told Times of Oman.
Omani traditional folklore had an eye-catching presence in different locations of festival. This ensured that the organising committee of the festival enthusiastically maintained the popular traditions of Oman and inspired these arts to remain in the hearts of emerging young generations, apart from exposing visitors to this traditional folklore. A number of Omani traditional folklore bands performed, such as Al Rasfah, Swordplay, Chanted Poetic Verses, Rasfah Al Arous, Lilet Al Henna, Al Liwa, Al Mekoarh, Al Dan, Abo Zalf, Al Razha and other traditional folk artists.
Oman Food Festival
A variety of dishes were on offer at the Omani Food Festival, in cooperation with the Omani tourism college, in order to introduce Omani table dishes that included various dishes of popular traditional foods which have special flavours. The traditional and modern Omani foods were prepared by skilled chefs in the festival's courtyard for visitors from all over the world.
The Muscat International Festival for Crafts, Arts and Creativity Exhibition was held with the participation of 20 Arab and other countries, with more than 150 shops displaying goods. On display were crafts and global products for graphic arts, sculpture, pottery, carpets, textiles, leather, silverware, copperplate and other crafts, and was a visual treat for art lovers.
Al Amerat Park and Naseem Garden had a number of theaters which showcased international bands presenting traditional art. These theaters presented acrobatic shows, international circus bands, Omani bands, a number of dance performances, and Omani songs that are derived from Oman's authentic heritage. Also, the Muscat International Folklore Festival presented folklore dance performances from Brazil, Cuba, Georgia, India, Italy, Oman, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Russia and South Korea.
The Royal Opera House in Muscat offered various shows, including international arts, costumes, dances, and melodies, along with arts of the Opera House.
Troupes from Russia, Serbia and Kazakhstan entertained the public by juggling bottles and fire torches. Also, part of the European Carnival was a group of performers from Ukraine that stood on display as living statues, drawing the curiosity of visitors, especially children.
Muscat Art Festival
Further, the Muscat Municipality introduced a new event to the Muscat Festival calendar. The Muscat Art Festival, with the theme 'The Creative Process', welcomed guest artists and intellectuals to Muscat. Exhibitions, lectures, debates, workshops, and more were presented between February 2 to 28.
Arabic calligraphy, Islamic art, architecture, photography, lectures, works by Salvador Dali, glassworks, workshops, art books, and the Ibex project also drew the attention of visitors at the Muscat Art Festival.
A large stage was set up for astounding laser and firework shows. A group of Omani students had prepared special sketches (natural and marine environments) to be displayed, along with laser shows, which were unique and beautiful. The laser shows, synchronised with dazzling musical beats and water streams, mesmerized audiences. It was definitely a show not to be missed!
Every part of the Muscat Festival was wrapped up with entertainment activities, with focus on families. Special arrangements were made for children where they could enjoy magic shows, clowns, jumping castles, rides and acrobatics.
Several food courts, prayer tents and other amenities, including public toilets, were located across the parks. There were 20 information booths as well, where people could seek information and report lost and found items.
The visitors the Times of Oman spoke to commended the organisers for ensuring that their children enjoyed themselves. There were also plenty of green spaces where families could sit down, relax and breathe fresh air while children played.
Intesar Ibrahim, a resident of Oman, told Times of Oman, "I came to see the festival on the last day. It is nice to know about Oman's traditions, which are displayed here in various forms through dance, exhibitions and the heritage village. It also portrays how people make mats and pottery. It was a pleasure to watch different dancers from different countries. For the people of Oman, this is definitely a great entertainment source. It was better than last year because of the organised facilities and parking arrangements."