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Pearl divers mark end of season – Annual heritage expedition comes to a close

KUWAIT: Family members, friends and well-wishers welcome the pearl divers during a celebration known as Al Qafal (arrival of the divers with sea treasures) which marks the end of the fourmonth long traditional pearl diving season in Kuwait
KUWAIT: Family members, friends and well-wishers welcome the pearl divers during a celebration known as Al Qafal (arrival of the divers with sea treasures) which marks the end of the fourmonth long traditional pearl diving season in Kuwait

KUWAIT: Wearing traditional costumes, the 193 young men who spent a week at sea as part of Kuwait’s annual pearl diving festival returned to their families yesterday. The pearl divers arrived in 13 ships, during a celebration known as Al Qafal (arrival of the divers with sea treasures) which marks the end of the four-month long traditional pearl diving season in Kuwait. Families of the divers welcomed their sons, in a sign of national and local pride.

The annual traditional diving expedition is organized by the Kuwait Sea Sports Club under the patronage of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Attending the event at the close of the 28th expedition, Kuwait’s Minister of Information and State Minister for Youth Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah quoted HH the Amir’s greetings to the divers, and his appreciation of the important messages the cultural and historical activity represents.

The minister congratulated the youth, who took part in the event, along with each of their ship commanders, the adviser Khalifa Al-Rashed and Abdulrahman Al Manaa’, traditionally known as the ‘noukhetha’, on their achievements and thanked the Sea Sports Club officials’ efforts in representing and reenacting an important Kuwaiti tradition that commemorates the graciousness and sacrifices of the forefathers of Kuwait. “Diving expeditions represent a huge importance in reviving traditions of the sea and commemorating the graciousness and sacrifices of our forefathers to their country,” Al-Humoud said.

The KSSC has held the annual pearl diving trip for the last 28 years and this traditional activity is performed by young sailors from Kuwait and other Gulf countries including Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Under the leadership of experienced sea captains “noukhetha”, the young sailors embark on a weeklong sea voyage where they anchor off Khairan island and dive for pearls. The long running festival is a tribute to Kuwait’s maritime heritage and aims to preserve the art and occupation of pearl diving and to teach younger generations about the life of their forefathers.

By Faten Omar

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