21st session of Sharjah Heritage Days to launch 22nd February 2024

Dr. Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Chairman of Sharjah Institute for Heritage (SIH) and Head of the Supreme Committee for Sharjah Heritage Days (SHD), revealed that the twenty-first session of Sharjah Heritage Days would launch on February 22 and continue for 11 days until March 3, under the slogan (Connection), across six cities in the Emirate of Sharjah, with the participation of 12 Arab and foreign countries, and 27 government entities.

This was announced during the press conference held by the SIH this Thursday morning at the headquarters of the Centre for International Cultural Heritage Organisations, affiliated with the Institute, in the presence of Moon Byung Jun, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Dubai, and Abu Bakr Al Kindi, General Coordinator of Sharjah Heritage Days, along with a host of dignitaries, officials, and a group of media representatives.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Chairman of Sharjah Institute for Heritage and the Head of the Supreme Committee for the Days, said, “This session coincides with the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, celebrating the Emirati heritage's originality and deep roots. We will go back to the initial spark and momentous occasion that marked the beginning of Sharjah Heritage Days in its first session 22 years ago, emulating the approach, style, and depth, based on the high directions of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and confirming the SIH's efforts in instilling values and reviving spirits to protect the heritage, spreading awareness of its importance, fostering communication between generations and cultures, celebrating the storied treasures and symbols of heritage, and returning to the authenticity inherent in heritage, within an annual tradition eagerly anticipated by heritage enthusiasts and heritage bearers."

Dr. Al Musallam added, "The 21st edition of the Sharjah Heritage Days comes under the theme 'Connection', a comprehensive slogan characterised by relevance and importance. It refers to the necessity of addressing the upcoming challenges and looking forward to the prospects of heritage. The slogan aligns with the Sharjah Emirate's direction of reinforcing the value of heritage and instilling it in the youth, linking them with their ancestors' legacies, connecting with the past, opening up to the future, and enhancing relationships with the heritage of nations and civilisations worldwide, exploring the relationship between heritage and generations in this age."

Dr Al Musallam explained that the events of the new session would be held in Sharjah city from February 22 to March 3, in Al Hamriyah on February 26 and 27, in Dibba Al Hisn on February 27 and 28, in Khor Fakkan on February 28 and 29, in Kalba on February 29 through March 1, and finally in Al Dhaid on March 1 and 2. He continued that the agenda of the SHD would include lectures and discussion sessions on various topics in cultural heritage, training workshops, and various activities for all age groups, in addition to live displays of Emirati heritage crafts, presentations of local environments, and traditional games, supported by artistic performances from national and international folk teams participating in this annual heritage festival.

Al Musallam indicated that the session would witness the participation of 12 Arab and international countries: Kuwait, Morocco, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, Slovakia, Montenegro, the United States, in addition to Jeju Province from South Korea, which will be the guest of honor at this year's festival because of its rich and diverse cultural and heritage stock, which will be a quality addition to the distinguished journey of the Days.

Regarding the new participations and additions to this year's festival, Al Musallam explained that the participation of the guest of honour will be represented in an exhibition by the museums of Jeju Province (South Korea), which will showcase Korean heritage through its three sections by highlighting the profession of Jeju Haenyeo (female divers), displaying valuable museum collections, tools, and clothing used in the diving occupation, as well as the daily life of the Haenyeo people. There will also be live performances to explore the beauty and precision of traditional Korean craftsmanship, noting that these exhibitions are a source of inspiration and education for the current and future generations on the enrichment of the world’s cultural history on the land of Sharjah.

This year's edition is unique with a qualitative Kuwaiti participation presented by the Expo 965 team through a distinctive heritage corner that showcases Kuwaiti cultural heritage, aspects of manual craftsmanship, as well as inspiring visitors to the platform by sharing the experience of the team's founder and the owners of personal museums affiliated with the team.

Additionally, 23 folkloric and Arab community groups as well as international teams will present 219 artistic shows, with 10 local folk arts being presented on the domestic front.

The SHD Festival continues to showcase the four local Emirati environments: marine, bedouin, mountainous, and agricultural, through live interaction with the various environments and providing information about the daily life of each. Visitors will also experience the second edition of the "Bakers Alley" corner, as well as "SHD" Cuisine, displays of traditional Emirati and Korean fashion, "SHD" Stage, various television and public competitions, the heritage games hall, the house of traditional games, the Knowledge Oasis for young children that includes a theatre stage and the creators' store among the contributions of the Hemmah UAE Center for individuals with determination, the photography corner, and the Heritage Walkway surrounded by mobile food carts. SHD markets offer a wide assortment of traditional foods, diverse goods, products from entrepreneurial families, and other items ranging from traditional cafes to modern ones.

Intensive Efforts to Ensure the Comfort and Safety of the Public It is worth mentioning that the festival's organising committee has ensured to facilitate visitor entry and movement to the events, including adding new parking lots around the “Heart of Sharjah” area to increase the capacity for festival-goers, providing parking for people with disabilities, and offering premium services parking. "SHD" train is also available to transport the public from the parking area to the heart of the event, in addition to logistical support inside and outside the festival, along with the readiness of ambulances and civil defense vehicles to deal with emergencies.