Emirati nationals provide significant support to the Baynounah Camel Festival and donate valuable prizes for the different laps of the Competition

Under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Rulers Representative in the Western Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee organises the 2nd edition of the Baynounah Camel Festival (Mazayna) from the 8th to the 13th of November, 2014 in Madinat Zayed in the Western Region (Al Gharbia) in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Launched for the first time in 2013, the Baynounah Camel Festival is a camel beauty contest for the categories of Asayel (locals) and Majahim (dark-skinned camels). It comprises 32 laps (24 Fardi laps and 8 Jamal laps). It also includes 16 laps for the category of local Asayel (12 Fardi laps) and 16 laps for the category of Majahim (12 Fardi laps). The number of prizes for the different categories, laps and positions reaches 280 with a total value that exceeds AED 4 million. In addition to cash prizes, winners can also collect a number of luxury cars. The total value of prizes for every Fardi (single) lap reaches AED 115,000 and the total value of prizes for every Jamal (male camel) lap has been set at AED 170,000.

The Baynounah Camel Festival is held at the official site of Al Dhafra Festival in Madinat Zayed. The designated location for the Mazayna is completely ready to accommodate all the camel owners, who will find well-equipped and properly-arranged camps, in addition to all other services that are available for Al Dhafra Festival. The Organizing Committee has also set a number of terms and conditions to better serve the participating camel owners.

H.E. Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Advisor for Culture and Heritage in the Court of His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee said that the Baynounah Camel Festival contributes to the preservation of the heritage legacy and the promotion of the traditions and customs of ancestors among younger generations.

Mazrouei also pointed to the significance of camels in the recent and ancient history of the region.

The Baynounah Camel Mazayna attracts a huge number of camel owners who come to compete for the valuable prizes and shed light on entrenched sports. The Camel Mazaynas have begun since the dawn of time and are still practiced until today. They are considered as part of the most important heritage festivals that globalization and city life failed to remove from our lives. Camel Mazaynas remain entrenched and well-established in the desert culture of the Arab Gulf Region, in general and the UAE, in particular, he said.

Camels are considered as part of a history that is abundant with the scent of the past. The Committee has been keen on discovering the mysteries of ancient times and past legacies. Our care for heritage stands out as an evidence of our collective awareness, civilization, development and progress. The Organizing Committee of the Baynounah Camel Festival is keen on activating and stimulating the role of nationals who are supporting and sponsoring the competition for a second year in a row. This keenness highlights the vital role of Emiratis in the support of efforts aimed at the preservation of cultural heritage and the protection of popular legacy. The main objective consists in strengthening the community contribution of the Bedouin nationals who are considered as the main ambassadors of their own culture. The sons of the Bedouin environment do provide an excellent model to follow by the younger generations, owing to their love and passion for the desert culture and their pride in the values of the past that they seek to revive and spread, Mazrouei added.

The constant follow-up by the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee Abu Dhabi, and the serious efforts of the Organizing Committee to maintain direct contact with locals and encourage their contribution do constitute a significant part of our noble objectives. All these efforts have secured major contributions from all sponsors and supporters. The camel beauty contests do actually amount to an important cornerstone in the efforts made to preserve and protect popular heritage. Until today, a number of nationals have donated valuable prizes for the winners. Some of these donations include all the prizes from the top position to the 10th position of the Fardi laps, Mazrouei noted.

On his part, Mr. Khamis Mohammed Al Sheddi Al Mansouri, a sponsor of a Fardi lap, said: Our contribution comes as part of our support of the Festival as a whole. The aim is to revive authentic Emirati heritage and preserve its continuity, notably camels which hold a key position in the ancient and contemporary culture of the Emirati people. Since its launch, the Festival has turned into a mega competition for the residents of Al Gharbia region who have grown keener on the preservation, care and protection of camels. We willingly sponsor this Festival and hope for the continuity of the current approach.

Each year, we do provide our support for this Mazayna and other festivals that are organized by the Committee, out of our belief in the efforts made toward the protection and preservation of Emirati heritage. We remain pretty confident of the success of this initiative and other similar programmes. We do also believe that camel beauty contests have succeeded in the reinforcement of desert tourism in the UAE, the revival of several aspects of desert heritage, and the stimulation of local markets thorough the participation of camel owners and those interested in the field of camel breeding in the UAE. We call upon everyone to come and visit Al Gharbia desert so as to enjoy the atmosphere of the Bedouin environment and discover the different aspects of the local lifestyle, notably the passion for camels. All these elements do beautifully shape the distinguished image of the Emirati heritage in the minds of all visitors from around the world, Al Mansouri added.

Mr. Salem Adhah Al Buqami, a sponsor of a Fardi lap, said: Our contribution to the Camel Mazayna is not only a national duty but also a good gesture of gratitude. We remain keen on following in the footsteps of our wise leadership, including all the contributions that our rulers have been providing, from valuable care to generous support for these festivals. We want this passion to grow in the hearts of the younger Emirati generations as we hope that all parties will join efforts in order to encourage similar projects. These festivals are not actually in need of our sponsorship as the main objective consists in encouraging all of us to take part in the process of heritage preservation and transmission to younger generations.

We have benefited from this support, socially and financially. At the social level, we have successfully built strong bonds with the Emirati camel owners. We have also created a vital channel of exchange between the youth of today and older generations so as to promote and highlight our deep-rooted heritage, he added.

Mr. Ali Salem bin Haiyai Al Mansouri, a sponsor of a Fardi lap, said: We are not the ones who provided support for the Mazayna, but it is the Committee that has granted us an honour to contribute to the support of this major heritage Festival. We are quite sure that the Festival will meet our expectation and that our efforts to preserve deep-rooted camel sports will pay off. The Baynounah Camel Festival is a unique occasion to sustain our customs and traditions as well as the contributions of our ancestors. It constitutes also a good opportunity to maintain the project of Al Dhafra Festival which has proved its success on both heritage and cultural levels. Our donation to the Baynounah Camel Festival comes to articulate our love for camels which do hold a special position in the hearts of all Emiratis, Gulf peoples and Arabs. This love and passion actually echo our collective environment and culture.

The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God bless his soul) has anchored in our hearts the love of heritage and a determination to preserve our traditions and hold on to our culture and identity. In this context, I quote few of his words, He who has no past has no present and no future. The Baynounah Camel Festival and similar events do reinforce the love for the nation, the sense of belonging and the feeling of citizenship among Emiratis of different ages, he added.

Mr. Mohammed Salem bin Haiyai Al Mansouri, a sponsor of a Fardi lap, said: Through our contribution to these festivals, we aim at safeguarding our dear heritage, and sustaining our authentic customs and traditions. We also want to play a part in the success of these festivals, which stands out as mutual accomplishment. I remain quite optimistic about the success of the Baynounah Camel Festival which will add to the huge achievements of Al Dhafra Festival thanks to the instructions of their Highnesses, the leaders of the UAE. The Baynounah Camel Festival is keen on providing all the required means of support and care so as to elevate the status of camel sports and preserve camel heritage and all its aspects as they were prevalent in the times of fathers and forefathers. The main objective consists in the transmission of these customs and traditions to younger generations.

The camel beauty contests or Mazaynas constitute important occasions to revive and preserve several aspects of local heritage, while ensuring their transmission to Emirati nationals and their promotion among residents and tourists. The Baynounah Camel Festival, an authentic heritage event, also helps different social categories through the encouragement of camel purchase and breeding, as a form of recognition of camel role in the history and culture of ancestors, he added.

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