KUWAIT: Hundreds of youth who spent a week at sea as part of Kuwait’s annual pearl diving festival returned to their families yesterday. Chief guest Education Minister Mohammad Al-Fares, representing HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, congratulated the young sailors on their achievements during the closing ceremony of the 29th annual pearl diving festival at Kuwait Sea Sports Club (KSSC) in Salmiya. “I hope our young divers got what they worked for. The harvest of pearls has a huge symbolic meaning for the young divers,” he said.
In addition to Kuwaitis, their counterparts from the Gulf (from Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman) also took part in the event. “This embodies the unity of purpose of Gulf nations. The festival’s slogan ‘One Gulf, one destiny’ is in line with deep-rooted relations among Gulf nations, and comes in support of His Highness the Amir’s efforts in mending rifts,” Farsi said. “Our young men from Gulf lived together for a week where they manage to cooperate to revive traditions of the sea as a one unit from all GCC countries,” he added.
His remarks were made during a celebration of ‘Yom Al-Qaffal’, or ‘day of closing’ – which marks the end of the four-month-long traditional pre-oil discovery pearl diving season in Kuwait. A total of 13 dhows, carrying 200 pearl divers, anchored at the club to the applause and delight of awaiting families, in an event exuding national and local pride.
The KSSC has held the annual pearl diving trip for the last 29 years, and this traditional activity is performed by young sailors from Kuwait and other Gulf countries. Under the leadership of experienced sea captains, the young men embark on a weeklong sea voyage where they anchor off Khairan island and dive for pearls.
By Faten Omar