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Picnics in old Kuwait

Wadha’s Side, Four Sidr Trees and Hawally used to be destinations for Kuwaitis to hold picnics in the old times, where they usually went on foot to enjoy the nature, stroll around and spend times of relaxation. This was usually done either within or outside the city walls to enjoy the cool weather after the long hot summer.

Speaking about picnics in the past, Kuwait heritage researcher Hussein Al-Qattan said people used to launch the picnic season at the beginning of winter and spring, when the land turned green. He added that people used to head away from neighborhoods, houses, the market and the port to the inner side of the wall for picnicking.

However, after vehicles arrived in Kuwait, it became easier to go picnicking as far as Hawally and Fintas outside the wall. People usually prepared for the picnic the night before, so that they could head out first thing in the morning. Women usually cooked a lunch of ‘momaouwash’ (rice and lentil cooked together). They used to cover the pot with canvas to keep it warm. Preparations also included readying tea and coffee flasks, dates and some traditional desserts. They used to return home by sunset due to the lack of street lighting then.

Once a group arrived at the picnic site, they usually picked a shady spot beneath sidr trees, where women started preparing the place, lighting up a fire to make tea and coffee and warm up lunch, while kids played around and hunted migrating birds with a ‘nabbatah’ (a traditional handmade catapult used to hurl small stones).

Qattan added that boys sometimes went out on separate picnics. He noted that the most famous picnicking sites in old Kuwait included the Four Sidr Trees area in Sharq and Wadha’s Side, which was small hill on top of which trees and truffle grew. It was called Wadha because it was noticeable from afar. Another spot was the Al-Shaab sidr tree, which was near Hawally, while Hawally itself was popular, as it had freshwater wells and leafy trees.

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