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Performances - Ayala Dancing

An embodiment of Emirati values and heritage, the Al Ayala dance sees male performers holding thin bamboo canes and moving to a steady rhythm of drums.

Presenting Emirati popular dishes and Arabic coffee

Rigag, the Emirati Crepe as some may call it. It is healthier and made with wheat, they’ll add additional toppings as you like, such as egg and cheese.

Luqaimat – Emirati desserts are quite popular as well, with one local favourite being kunafa. This dessert is a sticky pastry made of sweet cheese that is baked in shredded phyllo dough, and soaked in sugar syrup. The dish is quite popular around the middle east. Luqaimat is quite present around as well, deep fried dough similar to donuts and drizzled with date syrup.

Coffee, of course, is an important part of the meal, and many restaurants provide endless supplies of Arabic coffee to sip on alongside your meal. The traditional gahwa (Arabic coffee) is spiced with cardamom, cumin, cloves, and saffron. This rich beverage is often served with fresh, sweet dates, and are a perfect way to start or end your meal.


Talli is a traditional United Arab Emirates handicraft that creates an intricate adornment for all types of women’s clothing

Talli is a traditional textile handicraft that features bright colors and beautiful designs. An element of cultural heritage in the United Arab Emirates, it decorates all types of women’s clothing — from wedding gowns and formal dresses to everyday wear. Talli is created by twisting and braiding different strands of thread together to create long, narrow strips of textile with fine, elaborate patterns. These skills have been passed down from mother to daughter for generations.

Henna Painting

Artisans, henna, heritage exhibits and accessories

Henna is a plant dye that has been used throughout Arabia for centuries. The dye comes from the leaves of the henna tree, which are dried and ground. Water is then added to form a paste. Traditionally used on women's hands, feet and hair, and as make-up for bridal parties, Arabic henna features large, floral patterns, with these ‘tattoos’ being painless and washing off within a week.

Henna artists are eager to demonstrate the intricacies of their art and the history of a tradition that dates back thousands of years, having emerged as a way to celebrate festive occasions. Travellers visiting Abu Dhabi can get beautiful henna patterns while visiting the emirate’s heritage villages, or while embarking on exciting desert safaris, organised by one of Abu Dhabi’s tour operators.


A handicraft passed down for generations, Al Burqa’a is a type of mask sewn of special fabric that provides modesty to women. In the United Arab Emirates, the Burqa’a is a traditional form of modesty for women. Handcrafted of delicate fabric and worn over the face, this accessory is traditionally worn by married women to distinguish married from unmarried women. For generations, burqa’a artisans – called Quraizah Burqa’a – have earned a living from sewing burqa’as, a skill that has been passed down from Emirati mother to daughter.

Performances - Harbiya

This form of dance in Dubai is yet another rendition of the Ayyalah performed on special occasions. In this, two rows of men stand in front of each other, with the recitation based on the repetition of unaccompanied melodic phrases. Between the two rows of men, there is a group of people with rifles, which provide punctuations to the various recitations. If there is an increase in the number of dancers, the row begins to divide itself based on ranks.

Presenting falconry

For 4,000 years, Bedouin in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and wider Arabian Peninsula practiced falconry as an important form of hunting in a resource-scarce land. Its role in society, however, has changed over time, and today it is one of the UAE’s most honoured traditional sports.

Falconry’s revered status derives from the sense of courage, honour and nobility – prized traditional Arab values – that are associated with the sport, as well as its links to nature conservation, respect for animals and the comradery among falconers. 

“Falconry allows our children to enjoy the spell of the desert, imbuing them with the virtues of patience and fortitude, willpower and companionship, values that are just as important today, as they have been for generations,” says His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Emirates Falconers’ Club.


The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who practiced falconry from a young age, was a tremendous proponent of the sport of falconry and supported its conservation. He embodied the values of falconry, and practise the sport often. He launched many initiatives to promote the sport, including a falcon release programme and the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, which has become the largest falcon hospital in the world.

Presenting Arabic font

This was first done using symbols and shapes that later developed into letters, alphabets, and writing that represented different languages.

In turn, Arab speakers, devoted themselves to developing the Arabic language, in such a way that their letters and their shapes reflect the values of Arab and Islamic culture. Over time, as the importance of the Arabic language grew, specialized art forms and calligraphy schools were established with innovative curricula and methods for teaching Arabic calligraphy, art forms, and techniques, such as:

The Soft technique: This is a softly flowing form of calligraphy using specialized scripting quills and reeds. Fonts in this style include Thuluth, Naskh, Ruqaa, Diwani, and Ta'liq among others.

The Angular Technique: This technique has many names, including qasi (sharp) and mizwi (angular), and depends on formal styles of writing. Fonts that fall under this category include Kufic, Muzakhraf, Muzher, and Ayoubi, among others. It was widely used in writing the first Qur’an, coining money, and decorating mosques and buildings.

Arabic Calligraphy Tools: Arabic calligraphy tools include reed and wooden quills with a shaped tip, which are dipped in maddad (ink). Some quills are made of bamboo, others from ostrich and other feathers, chalk, limestone and even hedgehog quills.

Widely used Types of Arabic Calligraphy: Writing is the main way for human beings to express themselves and document ideas and events. Arabic calligraphy is a type of art, incorporating design and decorative writing. It can be defined as an artistic practice of manual calligraphy using Arabic letters that are inter-connected when forming words. The letters take on an engineered form that varies from one font to another depending on the strokes, length, connections, and other elements of the writing.


Al khoos (palm frond weaving) is a traditional industry practised in many parts of the United Arab Emirates, particularly in regions with palm plantations. Products made from al khoos were considered essentials for life in the past therefore women used it to secure most of their daily needs from it.

Al jirab is a typical product made from palm fronds and this used for storing dates. A practitioner describes the making of the al jirab as follows: Al khasf is made from braided palm fronds, and when the basket is filled with fresh dates it is called al yirab, or al jirab. Al yirab come in different sizes, some with a capacity of four mann while larger ones have a capacity of seven mann. During the date harvest season, people gather together to collect the dates and fill the al yirab. This process is called al hasheed, a word derived from yahtashid, meaning gathering - in this case it refers to farmers gathering together after which the palm plantation owner offers them food. Most narrators say that the taste of dates stored in al yirab is different in quality from those packed in bags and plastic boxes.