Winter Camps: Authenticity Of Qatari Heritage In The Desert

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) During winter, Qataris head to the desert to set up camp to enjoy the cold winter weather and the enchanting Qatari desert as an escape from the overwhelming noise of the city.
The people of Qatar are keen to design their camps by putting their own unique touches from their heritage with furnishings that symbolise the Qatari heritage.
The Qatari culture is clearly reflected through the traditional aesthetic of the tent, which is traditionally called (bayt al sha'ar). For instance, Arabic coffee (gahwa) is made in the traditional way, while the youngest in the camp serves the coffee to the elders in the specific traditional way, holding the pot (da'la) in the left hand and the cup (finj'an) in the right hand. The youngest makes their way to the guest to place dates, sweets, nuts, called (fwa'la) in front of them, whilst offering to pour and serve guests the Arabic coffee.
According to environmental expert Dr. Saif Al Hajri, in a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), the environmental culture in Qatar extends back to the era of the ancestors who were close to the environment and derived from it their resources of water and the treatment found in some wild plants and trees. Additionally, they benefited from the shade of trees to escape from the scorching sun, so they cared about preserving the environment. Through them, the culture of caring for the environment and preserving it from vandalism and tampering has reached us today, especially during the winter camping season, which is the most popular season for camping. We find that camp owners are committed to maintaining the cleanliness of camping sites due to environmental procedures and laws set by the concerned authorities represented by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and the Ministry of Municipality to preserve the environment.
He added that if we compare the last two decades in terms of caring for the environment, we will find that there is a noticeable improvement, as everyone who goes out to the desert is keen on keeping the place clean. Although there are individual actions by some, the majority are keen on preserving the cleanliness of the Qatari environment, which appeared during this season in its best form in terms of green areas, plants and grass growing in the natural landscape.
For his part, Mohammed Al Juhani, a specialist in the preparation of Arabic coffee, said in a similar statement to QNA that they learned how to prepare Arabic coffee from their fathers and ancestors, and it was passed from generation to generation.
He explained that Qataris and the people of the Gulf in general are keen on providing Arabic coffee in their gatherings and travels, noting that the authenticity of the Qatari heritage is clearly present in the camping sites that were previously announced by the concerned authorities. Heritage touches are prominent in those camps whose tents are designed in the traditional style.
As for preparing Arabic coffee, Al Juhani explained that coffee beans are roasted on fire to give it a blond or dark brown color. Afterward, it is grinded and placed in hot water with the rest of the ingredients such as cardamom, ginger, cloves, and saffron.
Al Juhani pointed out that Arabic coffee is prepared in the Qatari majlis and in the camps, as it symbolises the generosity and hospitality that characterises all Arab people.
Camp owner Hamad Saud said that the camps are considered an outlet for families and young people, pointing out that the customs, traditions and heritage of Qatar are present in such camps.
According to camp owner Ali Hamad, winter camps in Qatar are characterised by the presence of tents that symbolise the longevity of the Qatari, Gulf and Arab heritage in general. Those who utilise these camps, especially the elderly, prefer the tents, which bring back memories of the days they spent in the middle of the desert with their parents and grandparents in tents they erected with their own hands and lived in while moving in the vast desert of Qatar in search of pastures and water sources.
Monsour Mohammed, a visitor to one of the camps, said that the winter camps are considered a major destination for elderly parents and others, and some citizens use them to hold events and to receive guests in a traditional atmosphere that is not devoid of the authenticity of the Qatari heritage, far from the hustle of the city and its costs. Additionally, some camp owners invite visitors from different nationalities to visit their camps and inform them about the Qatari heritage.


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