Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra Festival expands preserving UAE’s cultural heritage


Al Dhafra Festiival
Additional locations, events and prizes included in the festival expansion

15th edition of Al Dhafra Festival will be held from 28th October, 2021 to 22nd January, 2021.

To welcome the festival, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces will show his patronage to the 15th edition of Al Dhafra Festival.

Sheikh Mohamed issued directives to expand the festival to include camel mazayna (beauty contest) competitions in Sweihan, Razeen and Madinat Zayed, in addition to the principal mazayna competition at the Al Dhafra Festival site. He also ordered the total prize money at the festival to be increased to AED 110 million.

The 15th edition of the festival, which coincides with the country’s Year of the 50th celebrations, is set to witness widespread interest and increased participation by camel owners in the UAE and GCC countries.

This project aims at preserving and promoting UAE’s cultural heritage among future generations with valuable directives from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The directives serve to further develop heritage festivals, support and encourage camel owners to participate, and to acquire valuable, authentic Arab breeds. It also aims to support and encourage participation in falconry competitions, pure Arabian horse and traditional Arabian saluki races, archery, and falconry and ghanam al naim (sheep) mazayna.

Increasing the prize money is also intended to boost camel breeding and camel racing, thus creating new job opportunities.

Major General Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Commander-in-Chief of Abu Dhabi Police and Chairman of the Cultural and Heritage Festivals and Programmes Committee – Abu Dhabi, praised the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed which aim to develop Al Dhafra Festival, increase prize value, expand camel mazayna throughout the emirate of Abu Dhabi, and increase participation by camel owners.

Today, Abu Dhabi is the destination for owners of authentic Asayel and Majahim camel breeds, as well as an annual destination for camel mazayna.

15th Edition of Al Dhafra Festival will see four mazayna competitions; in Sweihan, Razeen, Madinat Zayed, and Al Dhafra Festival, during the 2021/2022 camel mazayna season in Abu Dhabi, with a total prize value of AED 110 million distributed over 313 rounds and 2,937 prizes.

Al Mazrouei added that this new edition to the festival will include the launch of the Bairaq Al Emarat Award for Asayel and Majahim camel breeds, with a prize value of AED6 million. For the first time in mazayna competitions, prizes will be based on a new points system. The festival’s 15th edition will also witness new races for camel mazayna in two categories; hybrid and Wadh, as well as milking competition. These four mazayna competitions are set to witness the participation of over 13,000 camels.

Sweihan Mazayna will take place from 28th October to 3rd November 2021, with total prize value exceeding AED 11.4 million. Razeen Mazayna will take place from 25th November to 1st December 2021, with total prize value exceeding AED 11.4 million. Madinat Zayed Mazayna will take place from 23rd to 29th December 2021, with prizes amounting to over AED 11.4 million. And finally, Al Dhafra Festival Mazayna will be held from 13th to 22nd January 2022, with the total prize value exceeding AED 51.6 million.

Al Mazrouei also pointed out that the heritage competitions will be held from 13th to 22nd January 2022, at Al Dhafra Festival site in Zayed City.

The festival will include 27 races, with total prize value of AED 110 million distributed over the following categories: Pure Arabian Horse Race, Falconry, Traditional Arabian Saluki Race, Falcon Mazayna, Arabian Saluki Mazayna, Archery, Ghanam Al Naim Mazayna (sheep beauty competition).

The Vice-Chairman of the Cultural and Heritage Festivals and Programmes Committee – Abu Dhabi stressed that all participants and members of the supervisory committees will be subject to preventive and precautionary measures such as wearing masks and social distancing, in coordination with the relevant authorities in Abu Dhabi emirate. Additionally, festival entry shall be limited to those with negative PCR results received through Alhosn app, and those who have already received COVID-19 vaccinations.


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