First held in 1985, the Jenadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival, organized each year by the National Guard is the most famous cultural event in Saudi Arabia. For a fortnight, the festival highlights the Kingdom’s commitment to keeping the traditional culture and crafts of Saudi Arabia alive and offers to over a million Saudis a glimpse into their past.
The festival opens with a traditional camel race. The festival includes almost every aspect of Saudi culture. Folklore troupes perform the Ardhah and other national dances, while singers from around the Kingdom perform traditional songs and music.
Poetry competitions are held among contemporary poets reciting historic verses. In small shops with typical palm-frond-roofed porches, potters, woodworkers, weavers, and other artisans show their traditional crafts. There is a permanent heritage village in Jenadriyah where visitors can stroll through Arabia’s past.
During this year’s Jenadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival, three men from the United Arab Emirates were ejected as they were deemed “too handsome,” and women could become attracted to them, it has been reported.
According to Arabic language newspaper Elaph, on Sunday, April 14, 2013, the UAE nationals were taking part in a heritage event in the capital Riyadh, and they were thrown out by the mutaween, the government’s religious police.
“A festival official said the three Emiratis were taken out on the grounds they are too handsome and that the Commission members feared female visitors could fall for them,” the newspaper said and added that the festival’s management took urgent measures to deport the three to Abu Dhabi.
The UAE stand at the annual culture festival has issued a statement clarifying why a mutaween had stormed the stand before members of the Gulf Kingdom’s national guards forced him out. It said that an Emirati female artist at the stand attracted the mutaween. Saudi Arabia, a strictly conservative Sunni Muslim society, prohibits women from interacting with unrelated men. The statement by the UAE stand did not name the artist. “Her visit to the UAE stand was a coincidence as it was not included in the programme which we had already provided to the festival’s management,” Saeed Al Kaabi, head of the UAE delegation to the festival, said in a statement.
Now, it has come to light that UAE female singer Aryam was at the heart of an incident involving storming of the country’s stand at the Saudi cultural festival by a member of the Gulf Kingdom’s feared religious police
The 33-year-old Dubai-based Aryam’ whose real name is Reem Shaaban Hassan is of Egyptian origin. Aryam said the Abu Dhabi Culture and Tourism Authority had invited her to visit the national pavilion where the incident took place. She confirmed she went to the UAE pavilion. “I went to the UAE stand as a delegate and congratulated them on their folklore…I stayed there for 20 seconds and had no intention to sing,” she said as quoted by Arabic language newspapers in the region. “I strongly respect the traditions of Saudi Arabia and all Gulf states, and I consider myself a Saudi woman.”
- Serious troubles brewing in Arabia: Men Deemed ‘Too Handsome’ Deported from Saudi Arabia for Fear They Would Be Irresistible to Women (themuslimissue.wordpress.com)
- Saudi Arabia: Deportation of 3 too handsome Emiratis (syrianews.cc)
- Three men deported from Saudi Arabia for being ‘too irresistible to women’ (dailymail.co.uk)
- UAE men ‘too handsome’ for Saudi festival (arabianbusiness.com)
- Emiratis ‘too handsome’ for Saudi festival (en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com)
- UAE says female artists sparked police incident in Saudi (emirates247.com)
- Aryam sparked police incident in Saudi (emirates247.com)
- Mutaween (en.wikipedia.org)
- Why Colin Firth, Matthew MacFadyen, Rupert Penry-Jones, and Henry Cavill could never visit Saudi Arabia (crownhillwriters.wordpress.com)