My summer is incomplete without a trip to the Liwa Date Festival. It is a celebration of tradition, honouring the integral role that the fruit of the date palm tree has played in this land and the survival of its inhabitants. If you are interested in local UAE culture, have a thirst for knowledge and an appetite for dates, this is the ideal day out.
The show takes place annually in Liwa, an oasis town in ‘Al Gharbia’, the Western Region of Abu Dhabi.
UAE Dates Competition
One of the event’s main highlights is a competition in which date farmers are encouraged to produce the best quality of dates, which ripen just in time for the festival. Also in season at the same time in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and Liwa, mangoes and lemons have been introduced as an additional prize category, further incentivising local farmers. Over the course of a few days they enthusiastically gather to exchange ideas and showcase their efforts in employing best practices in agricultural methods, judged at farm inspections.
UAE Culture & Heritage
You can expect to tour a traditional souq, where Emirati families display and sell the finest local handicrafts, honey, perfumes, clothing, jewellery, and various products made from palm trees. Visitors also have the opportunity to sample and stock up on a variety of locally grown dates, also known for their health benefits. A must-see is also the heritage area, in which competition entrants have recreated homes depicting the lifestyle of traditional communities within specially constructed tents. The friendly festival atmosphere is buzzing with activity as crowds enjoy the performance of the traditional UAE folk dance ‘Al Ayyalah’.
Al Gharbia Festivals
I wonder what surprises are in store for the next event, but before then, consider visiting Al Gharbia’s Tel Moreeb International Festival & Mirfa Watersports Festival, or plan the ultimate weekend retreat either at one of the many hotels or camping under the stars. From the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, Liwa is only 2 hours away, and the journey itself is well worth the drive – after all, Liwa is home to some of the world’ s largest dunes, making for some breathtakingly beautiful scenery.
*Images courtesy of Liwa Date Festival website