Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday attended the opening ceremony of the Kingdom’s 32nd National Festival for Heritage and Culture, held in Janadriyah village on the northern outskirts of Riyadh.
The annual festival, known as the Janadriyah Festival, is a vibrant display of Saudi cultural traditions and heritage, and lasts 18 days. The festival’s first day saw King Salman welcoming officials from Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE, and included a “grand camel race while folkloric bands performed popular dances,” Arab News reports.
The festival is segregated by gender. The first five days, from Feb. 7 to 11, are for men only. Women and families will be allowed to visit from Feb. 12 to 24. Organizers say they expect millions of visitors from Saudi Arabia and abroad, according to Arab News.
The Kingdom intends to promote its own culture and heritage and foster strong national identity as part of its Vision 2030 economic and social reform plan. “We take immense pride in the historical and cultural legacy of our Saudi, Arab, and Islamic heritage. Our land was, and continues to be, known for its ancient civilizations and trade routes at the crossroads of global trade. This heritage has given our society the cultural richness and diversity it is known for today. We recognize the importance of preserving this sophisticated heritage in order to promote national unity and consolidate true Islamic and Arab values,” according to the Vision 2030 document.