Revival of an Ancient [Archives:1997/40/Last Page]
Local Tradition: Al-Maharah Autumn Festival
In September of every year, the area of Jawf in Al-Maharah governorate becomes the stage for the autumn festival. Yemenis and tourists alike flock to Jawf to see this exotic festival. This year’s festival, the third in what has become an annual tradition, is a revival of an old local celebration. This year’s events started with a 70-strong camel race in Al-Faidami area. Groups of folklore artists came from various parts of the governorate to share their products. In addition to the folk music and dance, sport events such as football and volleyball matches were organized. Awards were given to the winners i the tug-of-war match and the 80-km running race. The festival was concluded with more singing and dancing, and aptly concluded with a public banquet. The prevailing mood was one of enjoyment and festivities. The events themselves brought together the traditional with the modern, they combined the local with the national and international, and they linked up the normal with the rare and unique.
Jawf is some sort of a valley surrounded by majestic mountains from all sides, except the south. The area on this side extends to the white sands of the Mahara coastland. The timing of the festival is reminicent on an ancient local culture. It marks the end of the first monsoon rains which come during the months of July, August and September. The farmers and shepherds share the bounty of nature by enjoying themselves and paying tribute. The land at this time becomes covered with a lush carpet of green, extending from Damkoot to the border with Oman. As the people celebrate, looking up the tops of the mountains, shrouded with the autumn mist, gives a unique feeling of the beauty of nature. At the same time, the sound of the powerful sea waves echoes all over the place. The Al-Maharah AutumnFestival is a unique experience for all.
By: Saad Ali Mohaisin. For Yemen Times in Jawf Al-Maharah.