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12 Saudi Festivals You Should Definitely Not Be Missing Out On

Saudi Arabia has no shortage of festivals with some cities seeing over 10 festivals every year. Take even a small city like Unaizah for example that hosts around 12 festivals each year. The number of festivals in Saudis is on the rise and has become one of the best entertainment options in the country.

While the festivals do happen throughout the year, most of them take place during the summer, which is the time that sees one of the biggest spikes in domestic tourism.

King Abdulaziz Award for Camels Beauty Contest
Umm Ruqaiba

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Photo Credits: Alarabiya

This unique festival embodies the passed on heritage and traditions of the ancient inhabitants of the peninsula where camels compete in a beauty pageant of sorts for camels. The camels competing in the contest have to be from any of these 5 breeds: Majaheem, Sufur, Maghateer, Shuol or Homr. Held in the village of Umm Ruqaiba in the north eastern part of the Kingdom, participants from all around GCC gather here and the event sees easily over a half a million visitors flocking to it.


Al Janadariyah
 Riyadh

janadriyah-BG

Photo Credits: sauditourism.sa

The most famous festival of the country, Al Janadariyah’s fame has trespassed national borders. Arabia’s rich culture and history is brought to the spotlight here. From an extravagant opening ceremony and subsequent camel races to the various pavilions from the numerous participating countries, this festival comes full circle.


East Coast Festival
Dammam

c-9-1-13-East Coast Festival

The festival outlines the sea and naval heritage of the native inhabitants of the eastern part of the country. Held at the King Abdullah Environmental Park, the focus in this festival is on the ancient pearl trade and fishing industry which the region’s inhabitants substantially depended upon.


Al Hareed Festival
Farasan Islands

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Photo Credits: Fahmi Farahat

The hareed, known in English as the parrotfish is found abundantly in the Red Sea and is considered a delicacy in the Kingdom. During April and May each year these fish come in the shallow waters of the islands and the local fishermen throng all at once to catch the fishes during one fun filled festival. A must-visit for fishing lovers.


Rose Festival
Taif

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The rose festival’s highlight is the enormous flower carpet that is made from around 100,000 flowers. Held annually in the mountainous city of Taif, this festival draws in people from around the country.


Kuna Kida
Jeddah

Photo Credits: Sabq

Photo Credits: Sabq

Kuna Kida is one of the country’s most popular festivals that takes place in the older part of Jeddah in Al Balad. Highlighting the rich heritage of the Hejaz region, the festival is like a taste of life in the olden ages of this coastal trading city.


Souk Okaz
Taif

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Photo Credits: scth.gov.sa

The Souk Okaz was a two-week long annual market held over 1400 years ago. It had been a vital hub for trade and novel ideas back in the day and brought in traders from various parts of Arabia. Of late the souk has been revived and is held in the very same place on an annual basis.


Jeddah Ghair

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Also referred to as Jeddah Summer Festival, symbolizes the vibrant spirit of Jeddah. With ample amount of fireworks, raffle draws, exhibitions and local entertainers this is one the most fun and frolic festivals in the country today.


Saudi Film Festival
Dammam

Photo Credits: saudifilmfestival.org

Photo Credits: saudifilmfestival.org

Though it is on a small level, it is a significant step in developing and promoting local filmmaking talent. The 2016 edition of the festival was the 3rd consecutive year of the festival and saw 70 films participating in it.


Flower Festival
Yanbu

Photo Credits: jamilamimi.com

Photo Credits: jamilamimi.com

The popularity of this festival has risen considerably in the recent past, mostly due to it housing one of the largest flower carpets in the world. Apart from the visually pleasing aspect, the festival aims to increase awareness amongst the masses on the different plants and flowers in the region, how to successfully grow them, and even provide supplies for their home gardens.


Olive Festival
Jouf

Photo Credits: sabq

Photo Credits: sabq

It may come as surprising to many but Saudi Arabia has a large amount of olive production, especially in the Jouf province. The festival holds a number of cultural and recreational events, the likes of folklore shows and artistic competitions. It is also a popular market for handicrafts and food made from olive oil.


Dates Festival
Buraidah

Photo Credits: alkhaleejonline

Photo Credits: alkhaleejonline

Termed by many as the largest dates market in the world, tons of dates are sold on a daily basis. The fertile region of Qassim has around 7 million dates palm plantations, the highest of any region in the Kingdom and a huge chunk of their produce are sold in this season. The market in which the produce is sold at spans a whopping 300,000 sqm, so you can get an idea of how large the festival really is.

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