A Brilliant Part of our Popular Heritage When will Al-Hosainia Festival Come back?? [Archives:2001/32/Reportage]

August 6 2001

Farouk Al-Kamali
Yemen Times
Al-Hosainia is about 65km south of Hodeidah. It is a beautiful and agricultural land in Tihama. Al-Zaraneek tribesmen, celebrated for their strength and bravery, live in this area. As Al-Hosainia is a fertile land and is located between sea and mountain, and therefore became the main focus of attention of other tribes. Since their tender ages, Al-Hosainia inhabitants have being trained to face the hardships of life. They are skillful in running, jumping, mountain-climbing, animal-hunting, shooting and horse-racing. They used also to organize a yearly festival after the harvesting season which included various events, such as as folk dancing and folk songs, or competitions between poets, writers and scholars. At the end of the festival, people visited the tombs of the holy men repeating the religious and mystical chants. But the festival has been stopped for a long time as a result of poverty and the deteriorating conditions of the people. In March 1987, on the initiative of the ex-governor of Hodeidah and now the Minister of Industry and under the auspices of the President of the Republic, the festival reopened in March 1987. under the auspices of the President of the Republic, the festival was reopened with such activities as running, running and jumping. In the following year, the festival became larger and expanded its activities to include new sport competitions such as jumping over several camels which is a very popular sport. On the side of the festival, exhibitions for handicrafts, pot-making, and agriculture were held. The second festival drew huge attendance of around 100000 spectators, which led to a boom in internal tourism and commercial activity. The third and the fourth festival continued on the same successful path of large crowds and with the President’s visit. Unfortunately, despite its great popularity and fame, the festival suddenly came to an end as soon as the new governor came in. This glittering side of Al-Hosainia life faded away and I wonder what exactly happened in this country?
Al-Hosainia Festival: Future Vision
Cultural festivals are meant to show civilizational achievements and to put forward our heritage, our tradition and our customs. So we have to protect our heritage and its continuation is the responsibility of all of us. As Mr. Abduh Ali Nagi visited Al-Hosainia along with the Director of the Tourism Office in Hodeidah, he worked out on a future vision of the Al-Hosainia festival by adopting the President’s plan to reopen the festival. The Supreme National Committee has to be set up with representatives from the Ministries of Youth and Sport, Culture, Tourism, Information and Industry, the Governorate of Hodeidah, and those who are interested in the folk heritage. An annual budget should be allocated to the festival which should include various performances, such as folk songs, theater plays, plastic arts, competitions in poetry, story and paintings. The festival ought to see cultural, tourist, agricultural and industrial participation. Moreover, the Al-Hosainia festival should slightly resemble to other Arabic festivals: GARASH in Jordan or Al-Janaderia in Saudi Arabia. The re-establishment of Al-Hosainia festival and all the cultural activities must be a priority in the agenda of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism as a pledge protect our heritage against frivolousness. Yemen history is indeed deeply rooted in many ways and affected by the neighboring countries. There is a ray of hope concerning the preparation of an urgent plan to resume the Al-Hosainia festival by March 2002. This is only a hope. But will it come true?