Thursday, February 4, 2010

Upcoming Camel Beauty Pageant

Tomorrow we are headed to the Al Dhafra Festival which features the ever popular Camel Beauty Pageant boasting 28,000 animals and 1,200 owners participating for grand prizes worth 42 million dirhams ($15,246,000). Now this is not just any ole' beauty pageant......not by a long shot. It is akin to seeing the thoroughbread race horses on the horse farms in Kentucky. The Emirati have a long history of breeding camels and is a vibrant part of their traditions and heritage. (Only these people have millions to spend!)

The 10-day festival organized by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Hertiage includes multiple activities reflecting the UAE's heritage. The festival will have a camel milking contest and a cooking competition featuring ways to cook camel meat. The Camel Auction gets underway this week which is already proving to be outstanding. The core activity, however, is the camel beauty contest known locally as"Camel Mazayen".

The two breeds targeted by the Mazayina event are the Asayil and Majaheem. Asayil is a breed of camels that originates in the UAE and Oman and is mentioned in the Holy Quran as the “Red Camels”. Its value is also evident in history when Antra bin Shadad, historical poet and knight, travelled to the southern Arabian Peninsula to bring the Asayil and present them as a dowry to his love, Abla. The Majaheem breed, on the other hand, originates in Najd, Saudi Arabia.

The Gulf News posted the Camel Beauty Standards by which the camels will be judged during the competition.
I laughed at this article and thought it funny. However, after reading today's paper, I realized camel breeding is a serious business in the UAE. Gulf News reported results of the Camel Auction that is taking place this week. The paper reported

"Participants in the festival were talking about Emirati Hamdan Bin Ghanim Al Falahi who bought three camels on Sunday worth Dh24 million. The First camel worth Dh10 million ($ 3,630,000), the second worth Dh9 million ($3,267,000) and the third worth Dh5 million ($1,820,000). In addition to that, the same buyer bought other camels totalling Dh32 million ($11,616,000). Another participant sold his camel yesterday for Dh8.5 million ($3,085,500). Camel sales have reached more than Dh60 million ($21,780,000) in the first two days of the ongoing Al Dhafrah Festival in Zayed City, Al Gharbia (Western Region), an official said on Monday."

Now do you see what I mean about taking camel breeding seriously? TOTALLY OUTRAGOUS!

Can't wait to go tomorrow and see this for myself!!!!!! I'm planning to take the camera so I hope to have plenty of photos for you to see!!!!

****Photos Courtesy of Gulf News, Abu Dhabi*****

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