5 Must-Visit Festivals in KSA
Blessed with a rich heritage spanning centuries, as well as with diverse cultures and traditions, it is not wonder that Saudi Arabia is today home to a myriad of tourist destinations, cultural events, and especially festivals. Festivals across the Kingdom can be a great venue for family fun, but also an opportunity to meet with the locals and learn about their past and present. Saudi Arabia is traditionally known for a handful of festivals during Muslim holidays such as Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha but, in fact, there are also several more non-religious festivals that take place throughout the year. So, let's have a look at five festivals that you should pencil into your calendar:
Al-Ahsa Flower Festival
Flowers feature prominently in a lot of cultures in Saudi Arabia and are an iconic theme in some regions across the Kingdom, so there is no better way to celebrate them than with Al-Ahsa Flower Festival. Named after the Kingdom's Al-Ahsa oasis, the festival is held in Juatha, with over a hundred thousand visitors attending at a time. Sightseers are treated to over a million species of seasonal flowers, along with the opportunity to partake in several fun activities, pavilions, the Qatif Museum, local crafts, food, and more.
Red Sea International Film Festival
Launched in 2019, the Jeddah-based Red Sea International Film Festival is an annual film festival that focuses on films and talents from the Kingdom. It is run and managed by the Red Sea Film Foundation with the aim to help give the Saudi Arabian film industry a boost, so be sure to pay a visit for that next award-winning film.
Asir Summer Festival
With the Arabic slogan “Marhaban Alf fi Asir” (A Thousand Welcomes To Asir), Asir Summer Festival is held at one of the Kingdom's most diverse landscapes, and a known tourist destination. Originally part of the Kingdom's "Summer Season," a packed calendar of festivals and events throughout the year, visitors attending the two-month festival are treated to the sights and sounds of Asir. These include the Jacaranda trees in the capital city of Abha, and its beautiful traditions such as the "flower men” of Saudi Arabia, who are famous for their intricately-made floral headpieces.
AlUla Dates Festival
Dates are among the most popular staples in Saudi Arabia and with AlUla Dates Festival date farmers now have the chance to meet with consumers and investors from across the region. In fact, according to an official statement by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), AlUla has been a date producer for over 2,000 years, hence starting a festival around dates is quite a milestone for AlUla's farmers.
AlUla Hot Air Balloon Festival
Who doesn't love the sight of hot air balloons across the sky, or even riding in one? In 2019, AlUla launched its first hot air balloon festival, as part of the region's Winter at Tantora Festival, and has since become an annual event worth checking out. Visitors will also be able to partake in other activities and events on offer.