Yet another voyage

 23 Nov 2017 - 17:52

The Peninsula

Time-honoured maritime songs resonated along the shores of Katara as the traditional Qatari dhow Fath Al Kheir embarked on yet another voyage, this time to Kuwait and Oman.

It was such a spectacular sight for the visitors at the recently concluded seventh Katara Traditional Dhow Festival as it was nostalgic for the 16 participating Qatari sailors with the traditional ‘Al Dasha’ ceremony they were used to in the past when propinquity to the sea was not uncommon when fishing and pearl diving were their primary source of livelihood during the pre-oil era.

The 45-metre long dhow looked ever majestic as the sailors hoisted the mainsail plastered with a massive Tamim Al Majd image.

In its third edition, Fath Al Kheir’s voyage is no ordinary journey. For one, Fath Al Kheir has become an effective vehicle in promoting Qatar’s rich long-held maritime heritage among the new generation as well as a potent symbol of peace and cultural unity inasmuch as Qatar shares the same maritime tradition with its neighbouring countries. Hence, it is a great honour for sailors to join the journey that they have to undergo a series of rigorous medical and physical tests and training.

The 34-year-old dhow, considered one of the largest in the country, had docked on the shores of all GCC countries in addition to India during its past two voyages. During its long journeys, it had weathered the storms and gained international attention. Similarly, the Qatari sailors had withstood all challenges during tedious journeys and spread goodwill in every shore the dhow moored.

As in its previous editions, Fath Al Kheir will return on December 18 in time for Qatar National Day celebrations. But compared to its previous editions, this particular voyage is special, though one of the shortest. In a symbolic gesture of goodwill, it is heading towards Kuwait and Oman, two countries which have stood fervently by Qatar’s side with open arms while three of its neigbours closed their borders.

The voyage is a clear gesture of how Qatar embraces every culture and that it will continue to reach out and offer goodwill to those who extend their hand in friendship.

It is also a sign of how the Cultural Village Foundation - Katara positions the country as a cultural beacon with a crucial role to play in bridging communication among people regardless of cultural background.

In less than a month, Fath Al Kheir will return and it will surely be a huge celebration.