Check out my Top Ten Things To Do At Janadriyah Festival here: http://blueabaya.blogspot.com/2013/04/top-ten-things-to-do-at-janadriyah.html
That was a joke btw. I need to clarify to all the close minded negative nellies with no sense of humor whatsoever out there that I know stalk this blog just to find anything at all to complain about because their lives are so damn boring and uneventful. The rest of us feel sorry for you, now move along please!
Back to the topic, I think every expat in Saudi should visit this festival, not just to see the beautiful architecture, heritage and traditions of the various provinces, but to experience what the Saudi people are truly made of. This is such a unique chance to interact with Saudis from all over the Kingdom and embrace their culture.
Time to take a cultural bath!
Trust me you will be surprised if you thought Saudis are rigid and don't know (or want to) have fun. Boy are you in for a shocker! At Janadriyah you will see Saudi women men and children laughing and having fun in public some dressed in funny outfits or wearing wigs, hats and over sized glasses. Many women will be wearing beautiful decorations on their veils and men can be seen donning flowers in their hair! Who would have thought?
At Janadriyah village you will find the young and the old, the city people and the desert dwellers, the professors and the farmers, Sunni and Shii'a, craftsmen and women, Saudis of all backgrounds, colors and regions come together. Millions of Saudis flock here every year.
That is what the true magic of this festival is all about. The national pride, the unity and the sense of togetherness just can't be experienced quite the same as it can be at Janadriyah.
Janadriyah is like a social experiment. An experiment that exceeds all expectations. An experiment which should be an eye opener to many. Saudis are fully capable of behaving in normal decent ways despite the mixing going on. I never once was harassed or approached in a negative way there, EVER. And let me tell you that I've visited this festival a total of 13 times with many friends of different races who share the same positive experiences. Everyone was genuinely welcomed and shown respect. No leering, flirting or passing of mobile numbers anywhere. So how is that for proof that allowing normal human interactions in the public sphere of Saudi Arabia does not result in chaos and havoc.
Notice the "secret" photographers in the background :) We later talked to them and took lots of group photos.
"Welcome to Saudi-Arabia" is the most common phrase a foreigner will hear at Janadriyah. I encourage everyone to embrace the culture, get to know the Saudis. Laugh with them, dance with them, joke around with them. You will soon realize that they are just like anyone, like you and me. Don't be afraid to make the connection. You will remember these times for the rest of your life as the best moments of your time in Saudi Arabia.
Get out of your bubbles and compounds and visit Janadriyah with an OPEN heart and mind is my advice to you :) Leave your prejudices at home. Drop your guard. Open your mind.
The following is a photo collage from previous experiences from the festival over the years. Please DO NOT use these images without my permission. These are some of my most cherished memories and moments from the Magic Kingdom and I am sharing them with you to spread the joy and bridge the cultural gaps out there!
Enjoy the pictures guys and if you like this post and Blue Abaya, please take a short moment to give some blog love for me by voting at the Weblog Awards. Blue Abaya is a finalist in the Best Asian weblog category. I know you can spare me a few moments and give a little something back as gratitude for sharing all the information, photos and time that I devout to you dear readers of Blue Abaya!
P.S I spent many days compiling this post for your enjoyment :)
Click here to vote: http://2013.bloggi.es/
P.P.S. The woman appearing in the photos is a good friend of mine who has worked the past five years in KSA and truly loves the Saudi culture!
P.P.P.S. Janadriyah festival starts on the 3rd of April and continues for 2 weeks onward.