In honor of Hatim Al-Ta’i, a festival was held in the Hail region of Saudi Arabia and it celebrated various icons of Arab poetry. Named, The Hospitality of Al-Ta’i festival, this event was one of the many initiatives from the Year of Arabic Poetry. It also created as part of the Ministry of Culture’s tactics to commemorate and applaud various Arab poets. Poetic icons from that time included names such as Al-Ta’i, Al-A’sha, Zuheir ibn Abi Salma, Labid ibn Rabiah, Imru’ Al-Qais, and Antara ibn Shaddad. Hatim Al-Ta’i is a well-known poet and a legendary personality known for his beautiful poetry, benevolence, and acts of kindness. In the village of Tuwairan, you can still see his palace tomb and fireplace.
The festival itself was filled with cool activities that all related back to Al-Ta’i’s life and work. From his childhood to his old age, you were able to see and visualize various momentous stages through the activities presented.
For example, there was one section called “About the Life of Al-Ta’I” which was an interactive exhibition that transports the festival-goers back to the 6th century A.D. Through VR, they were able to experience the world back then.
Another one was called “About the Poet of Ta’i,”, and it was basically emphasizing the symbols of Arab poetry, and how those related back to Al Ta’i’s life and creative journey.
Another area of the festival was a stage where literary figures and poets re-counted the Arab poet’s life through their own re-interpreted poems. His biography turned into a lovely spectacle of word and verse. There was even a live cooking station that aimed to portray Al-Ta’i’s hospitality with family and friends.
One of the most important aspects about Saudi society is the celebrations of history and heritage, especially when it came to culture. Poetry has been a staple part of the kingdom’s past, and being able to revive and remember it in cultural events such as this festival is quite important. The remembrance isn’t the only part, as these type of cultural festivals foster creativity for individuals who are interested in the arts.