Abu Dhabi’s Liwa Date Festival a celebration of UAE heritage

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Today, the Liwa Date Festival is widely recognised as a unique gathering for those passionate about the role of palm trees and half-ripe dates, including individuals and companies.

Monday 05/07/2021

A file picture shows an Emirati youth holding up a freshly-picked date during the annual Liwa Date Festival in the western region of Liwa, south of Abu Dhabi. (AFP)

ABU DHABI – The 17th Liwa Date Festival will be held on July 15 – 25, with expanded prizes worth over AED8 million ($2.1 million).

The festival, which will be held under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, celebrates the UAE’s culture and heritage and supports local agriculture.

The event will be closed to visitors and activities will be limited. Comprehensive measures will be in place to protect the health of participants, including COVID-19 countermeasures.

Deputy Chairman of the Cultural Programmes & Heritage Festivals Committee Eissa Saif Al Mazrouei said 22 competitions will be organised during the festival.

The event is an opportunity to shed light on the significance of palm trees in the Emirati heritage while tasting some half-ripe Ratab dates. It pursues a strategy of preserving and sustaining authentic Emirati heritage, specifically the country’s palm trees and half-ripe dates.

The festival is a showcase for the best dates. (WAM)
The festival is a showcase for the best dates. (WAM)

For centuries, palm trees and half-ripe dates have been an integral part of Emirati society and its deep-rooted traditions.

The festival, inspired by the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, is a reflection of efforts to pay tribute to these living symbols of the past’s authenticity, the present’s prosperity and the future’s promise.  

Today, the Liwa Date Festival is widely recognised as a unique gathering for those passionate about the role of palm trees and half-ripe dates, including individuals and companies. The festival is also a great opportunity to learn about Emirati customs and traditions and to discover locals industries and handicraft products.

In recent years, the UAE has been moving to brand its dates overseas and a growing emphasis has been placed on organic farming and sustainable irrigation.

In the last few years, hot weather has seen dates ripen before time. And to cope with the problem, farmers have turned to the cultivation of varieties that require less irrigation.liwa

According to experts, the popularity of farming has put added pressure on the water tables in the last 15 years.

In 2014, UN figures revealed that the UAE has succeeded, over the last decades, in planting about 130 million trees, including 22 million palm trees that constitute 20% of the total number of palm trees in the world.

The UAE also occupies a leading position, among more than 40 countries, as far as the production capacity and export volume are considered.

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