(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Among the various activities and events being held in Qatar after the FIFA World Cup is the second edition of the Qatar Camel Festival, which was inaugurated recently under the slogan 'Jezellat Al Atta' (Generous Giver).
The event is organised by the Qatar Camel Mazayen Club, which operates under Qatar's Ministry of Sports and Youth.
'The rationale behind using the slogan is self-explanatory. The camels are generous to their owners; they provide milk, transport goods, provide wool, and owners can eat their meat. It is not an exaggeration to say that camels are still the lifeline in desert regions. It is like the bread and butter for people living in deserts,' a press statement noted.
The event aims to bring cultural awareness worldwide and let the new generation of Qatar and the region know about how their ancestors have connected with camels for generations.
The camel beauty contests are held as part of the festival to symbolise the affectionate relationship between camels and their owners. The ongoing second edition of the competition showcases the beauty of camels, focusing on their head, neck, legs, ears, lips and hump.
The festival is being held at the Lebsayer Arena, Al Sheehaniya, until February 26.
There are checks and controls to maintain the camels' naturality. Plastic surgery is forbidden at the festival, and a fine of QR10,000 has been fixed for this violation. In case of a breach, and if the amount is not paid, the camel and its owner will be barred from participating in future camel festivals.
The participating camels compete in three categories - Magateer, which consists of three colours- white, yellow and red; the Assayel, purebred camels, which are popular among camel breeders in Qatar; and the Mejaheem, which are black camels.
This time, like last year's competition, many camel owners from Qatar and the rest of the GCC are trying their luck in each of the categories.
The contest's second edition has been confined to 30 days with 99 rounds, compared to 40 days and 116 games last year. The move is to merge the local and internal rounds, giving all the owners more chances to win as decided by the organising committee.
Last year, six countries, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Yemen participated in the event. Around 5,000 camels competed in the contests, of which 2,000 were from Qatar, with the remaining 3,000 from other countries.
This year, the festival's organising committee has come up with a new contest called Bayraq (Banner). In each category, the competitors will vie to get the highest number of points to win the Bayraq. Every competitor can buy a winning camel in each round and add it to his portfolio. 'This contest will fire up the competition and will revitalise the camel market,' the statement added.
This year's festival has also witnessed the launch of the Folk Village, in which 46 shops have been built to support productive families via the Ministry of Social Development and Family and young Qatari entrepreneurs. This village will witness different yearly heritage activities for families visiting the festival. In addition, the weekend artistic programmes include poetry recitations and local folk presentations, portraying poets and singers from Qatar and the GCC.
Also, on Celebrations Street, a folk market has been launched in which all camel items and materials are sold along with authentic local food.
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