The 24th Heritage Festival was opened recently under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad.

The annual event, themed “Vocal Waves from Our Bahrain”, has been held in a special tent near Bahrain National Museum, and was open to the public.

Fortunately, the festival has gained worldwide reputation since its launch in 1992 thanks to the  patronage of HM the King.

This event certainly reflects his personal interest in reviving Bahrain’s heritage and protecting it from being marginalised.

The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, which is organizing the festival daily from 4pm to 9pm, is keen to bring to life pearl-related functions, including folk songs, shows on traditional homes of divers as well as on pearl-piercing skills.  The sea has been given a great prominence in this festival, and rightfully so. It is interesting to note how through merging the sea waves with the sound waves, the festival focuses on the element of sound, being a means through which the sea, the pearl lining industry and the non-material heritage are showcased.

This year the Heritage Festival in its 24th edition focuses on intangible heritage revolving around the concept of memories of the sea and the island during the period of diving and pearling.The festival also portrays the role of women during the absence of the pearl divers for the four-month duration. Women had to take over the lighter professions of their husbands to sustain their livelihood.

Titled under “Rhythms of Bahrain”, the festival will showcase four passages of the memory journey throughout artistic installations, mainly focusing on sound. The festival will highlight the following:

  1. Preparation for the diving seasons
  2. The farewell festival- the official day of boarding (al-rakbah)
  3. The women’s daily life on the island- The wait
  4. Welcoming the divers back- the day of the return of the crew (al-quffāl)

Visitors are attending four artistic works, inside the festival’s tent, that include audio-visual shows on divers’ lifestyles and their families.

The festival offers visitors a chance to see some of Bahrain’s finest craftsmen at work.

There will also be a market inside the tent with stands showcasing Bahraini products, such as coffee, dates, perfumes, water vaccine, fabrics and traditional sweets.

Continuing till the 21st, this heritage festival is a must-visit in most of the people’s diary here.