The General Authority for Culture announced the organization of the Baligh Okaz competition for the first time during the 12th edition of Souq Okaz Festival, which runs until July 13.
The competition celebrates Souq Okaz’s history as a space where people can develop eloquence and pride. It will deliver awareness, guidance and media messages to the youth in particular, organizers said.
The competition at the arts, culture and literature pavilion will develop the culture of speech and linguistic expression and promote good values. Baligh Okaz sheds light on the Arabic language as an intellectual source and focuses on children, youth and adults.
Khalid Al-Harthy, supervisor of the popular arts committee for the Association of Culture and Arts in Taif, said: “The competition focuses on spoken literature and aims to spread good values and encourage children and youth to read in order to develop their language.”
He said: “It also highlights the importance of the Arabic language as an intellectual and cultural source, in addition to supporting talents in the rhetoric field and investing in cultural innovations.”
Competitors will focus on Saudi achievements and express their pride in these accomplishments and in belonging to the Kingdom.
The organizing committee has set judging criteria for those taking part, including originality, innovation, speech quality and capacity, the ability to face the audience, the validity of emotions, strength and durability of style, and the integration of the speech’s elements.
Al-Harthy said the winner of the competition will receive SR10,000 ($2,666).
The Kids Okaz tent, located next to Okaz Avenue, is offering events and activities for children, including theatrical performances, and narration of historical stories and poems.
Abdul Aziz Al-Mahwes, the tent supervisor, said: “There are 14 activities targeting kids, where they interact with the characters in the tent, playing different characters in the old souq history. The characters are: The spokesman, jeweler, narrator, painter, calligrapher, judge, tradesman and others... The Okaz visuals scene is a miniature cinema for kids and the characters are the woodcutters, water servers and the tanner.”
During the Kids Okaz tent tour, children learn about the classical Arabic language, buying and selling methods, old caravans, wood carving, and life and civilizations that coincided with the era of old Souk Okaz.
At least 70 artisans from across Saudi Arabia are competing in the National Handicrafts Program (Bari) during the festival.
The program, in which 15 master artisans are participating, has built 116 tents for different kinds of craftsmanship, including weaving, embroidery, crochet, folk dressmaking, and manufacturing wood products.
Palm handicraft products were the most prominent feature of the program during the festival alongside painting, sculpting, and decorating natural material.
Ten bodies have participated in the Bari Program, including the Herfah Association, Princess Nora Center, Al-Ahsa Girl Developmental Charity Association, the Art of Heritage company, Sleysla Center, Herafia Association, Ajaa Organization, Taibah Organization, Atta Al Khair Center, and craftsmanship
The program has also organized a craftsmanship contest, with 24 participants and prizes worth SR300,000.
The program aims to guide a group of graduates who have majored in management, economics, and fine and applied arts to work in the crafts sector as developers, contractors, and investors and support existing handicraft programs while preserving the natural environment.