Hayy Jameel’s bustling Ramadan Nights embraces community, culture

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Ramadan Nights takes place every Wednesday to Saturday over 14 nights during Ramadan catering to all ages and backgrounds. (Instagram/hayyjameel)
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Abdullah Alsilani, a carpenter and the founder of NBR Carpentry. (AN photo)
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Hadeel Alabbasi, the founder of Qanaateer with a kid teaching Arabic fonts. (AN photo)
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Carlota Martin. (AN photo)
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Updated 01 April 2024
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Hayy Jameel’s bustling Ramadan Nights embraces community, culture

  • Vibrant program ‘by the community, for the community’ offers evenings of reflection and joy

JEDDAH: The inaugural Ramadan Nights at Jeddah’s Hayy Jameel cultural center features a range of activities including workshops, film screenings, dining experiences, and shopping options.

Highlighting the importance of community, culture, and well-being, the event will take place every Wednesday to Saturday over 14 nights during Ramadan catering for all ages and backgrounds.




Ramadan Nights takes place every Wednesday to Saturday over 14 nights during Ramadan catering to all ages and backgrounds. (Instagram/hayyjameel)

Ramadan Nights includes local artisanal crafts, books, organic seasonal produce, accessories, clothing, and gifts at Hayy Markets. The platform provides the creative community with a space to exhibit their products, engage with customers, and raise awareness about local initiatives that champion sustainability, well-being, and artistic practices.

Rahma Al-Harbi, founder of Sigo and a first-time participant at Hayy Markets, told Arab News: “I am selling souvenirs that are locally authentic and reflect the rich culture of Saudi Arabia and its various cities.




Ramadan Nights takes place every Wednesday to Saturday over 14 nights during Ramadan catering to all ages and backgrounds. (Instagram/hayyjameel)

“We also offer traditional games that have been reimagined in a modern style, each representing different aspects of cities such as Diriyah and AlUla. The interaction with customers is truly unique, and we manage to sell all our products every week.”

Samar Allarakia, an artist and designer, said: “I create limited-edition abayas by painting and printing on fabrics exclusively for Hayy Jameel. Each time I sell out, I restock.




Hadeel Al-Abbasi, Qanaateer founder

“I also offer handmade items specifically for this bazaar. The response has been incredible, and customers have shown great love for my work. I look forward to collaborating further with Hayy Jameel.”

Raghad Bawazir, the founder of FouZentric, said: “Our brand features 100 percent handmade abayas, dresses, and bags in a boho style. The crowd’s response has been incredible, and people truly appreciate our trendy boho designs.”

I am thrilled to be a part of this initiative and to share Islamic and cultural traditions with children.

Hadeel Al-Abbasi, Qanaateer founder

Carlota Martin, founder of Root Spain and Kids at the Patio, said: “We are showcasing two unique brands at this market. The Root specializes in gourmet Spanish food, including exceptional products like extra virgin olive oil, artisanal flower petal jams, and marron glace (candied chestnuts).




Ramadan Nights takes place every Wednesday to Saturday over 14 nights during Ramadan catering to all ages and backgrounds. (Instagram/hayyjameel)

“We also offer elegant marble bowl and spoon hampers to complement our offerings.

“Our kids’ brand features stylish clothing for newborns to children, catering to both boys and girls. Visitors are loving our products and are eager to learn more. I am grateful for the invitation from Hayy Jameel.”




Eiman Elnaiem, Hayy Jameel public programs manager

Abdullah Alsilani, a carpenter and the founder of NBR Carpentry, presents wood-carving sessions. He said his business focused on creating custom designs based on requests and its product range included tables, candle stands, kitchen items, and keychains.

Anas Bukhari and Kholoud Faqih, the founders of JED Board Games who frequently collaborate with Hayy Jameel. Faqih said: “We provide a diverse array of challenging board games, offering over 150 options for this Ramadan Nights program.

Ramadan Nights has community at the heart of it all … and it is incredible to see Hayy Jameel buzzing at every corner.

Eiman Elnaiem, Hayy Jameel public programs manager

“Our community has been thriving as we aim to educate individuals about the world of board games. By spreading awareness and knowledge about these games, we hope to encourage more people to step away from electronic devices.

“During Ramadan, it’s a perfect opportunity for families and friends to come together, spend quality time, and enjoy the experience of playing board games.”

During Ramadan, Hayy Cinema presents a selection of local and international films, offering the opportunity to unwind and relax after iftar until midnight.

The program also features Hayy Explorer which provides children with a chance to dig into Islamic arts, participate in games, and discover culinary traditions from different regions in Saudi Arabia.

Hadeel Felemban, who oversees Hayy Explorer, said: “We have storytellers sharing tales of food from Baha and Aseer. We’ve partnered with Akwan to host a fun games night for kids, featuring memory card games for Ramadan and activities to build Arabic alphabets.

“Kids can also enjoy hands-on activities like making mamoul (dates cookies), drawing sessions, and art projects. Each session lasts for one hour and can accommodate up to 20 children.”

The Arabic language institute, Qanaateer, has been highlighting the traditions and history of the Arabian Peninsula through art, stories, and culture for kids.

Qanaateer founder, Hadeel Al-Abbasi, said: “We are collaborating on weekends to teach artwork, Arabic fonts, creating Eid carpets, crafting Ramadan lanterns with wishes and prayers, and more.

“Everything is thoughtfully organized at Hayy Jameel. I am thrilled to be a part of this initiative and to share Islamic and cultural traditions with children.”

At a session hosted at Project Space by Hayy Learning’s teaching artists Nayla Attar and Sahrish Ali, participants explored the Holy Qur’an, and shared stories, recipes, and memories.

Maria Alem, senior manager at Hayy Jameel’s learning program, said: “For Ramadan Nights, we immersed ourselves in discussions about the fruits mentioned in the Qur’an, expressing gratitude for their blessings. This was followed by a creative printmaking session where participants crafted prints inspired by these fruits.

“They also reflected on personal recipes that hold special meaning, translating them into beautiful lino prints.”

Regarding a workshop on making a sobia blend using sourdough and dates, a healthier alternative to the staple Hejazi drink, Maram Murad, from Health in a Jar, said: “I came to Saudi Arabia with an idea to revive the art of fermented foods and started Health in a Jar six years ago, specializing in fermented food.

“We conduct workshops on fermented foods like sourdough, kombucha, kimchi, and during Ramadan, we focus on sobia.

“Collaborating with Hayy Jameel, we offered a healthy version of sobia during Ramadan with dates, raisins, and sourdough bread. It’s amazing to see the community’s growing interest in learning the process of making sobia is truly inspiring.”

Public programs manager, Eiman Elnaiem, said that the inaugural cultural Ramadan program was all about celebrating togetherness, community spirit, and well-being.

“The program has been developed with something for anyone and everyone in mind — from Hayy Markets and its selection of artisanal crafts, books, design, gifts, and local produce by entrepreneurs and creatives from across Saudi Arabia to film screenings at Hayy Cinema, children’s activities centered on storytelling, games, and reminders of the meaning of Ramadan and reflective and inspiring talks, workshops, live calligraphy, and performances celebrating tradition, customs, and shared values,” Elnaiem added.

She also noted the variety of food and beverage options available across Hayy Jameel.

“Ramadan Nights has community at the heart of it all. It is for the community, by the community, and it is incredible to see Hayy Jameel buzzing at every corner, including those curious to explore our current exhibition ‘At the Edge of Land’ in Hayy Arts, as well as Hayy residents in their spaces.

“The Ramadan program has been such a success, introducing us and bringing new audiences to Hayy Jameel. We hope it continues to grow and become the place to be each and every Ramadan for the years to come.

“We feel proud at Hayy Jameel to work with and support local collaborators and participants through the program, allowing them to share their passion, creativity, and connect with the wider community,” Elnaiem said.

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Black cloth covering Kaaba in Makkah raised ahead of Hajj

Updated 23 May 2024
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Black cloth covering Kaaba in Makkah raised ahead of Hajj

  • Procedure meant to keep the cover, Kiswa, free from getting soiled and tampered
  • 36 specialized technical personnel carried out procedure with aid of 10 cranes

RIYADH: In keeping with the annual tradition, officials raised the lower part of the kiswa — the elaborately designed black cloth covering the Kaaba — in Makkah on Wednesday ahead of this year’s Hajj pilgrimage.
As approved by the General Authority for the Care of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, the exposed part was covered with a white cotton fabric, two-and-a-half meters wide and 54 meters long on all four sides, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
Carrying out the procedure were 36 specialized technical personnel with the aid of 10 cranes.

In this handout photograph, taken and released by Saudi Press Agency, specialized technicians are seen at work at the Kaaba in Makkah on May 23, 2024, raising the special cover to keep it from being soiled and damaged ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (SPA)

As described in the SPA report, the kiswa is lifted in several stages: It starts with unscrewing the bottom of the cover from all sides, separating the corners, then untying the bottom rope and removing it from the fixing rings, after which the cloth is rolled upward. The lanterns are then dismantled and the white cloth are put in place, after which the lanterns are reinstalled over the white cloth until the final stage.
The procedure is repeated every year to protect the kiswa from getting soiled and damaged as pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba.

In this handout photograph, taken and released by Saudi Press Agency, specialized technicians are seen at work at the Kaaba in Makkah on May 23, 2024, raising the special cover to keep it from being soiled and damaged ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (SPA)

The annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia is considered the world’s largest human gathering, with year 2012 marking the biggest number of participants at 3.16 million.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi authorities allowed only a symbolic observance of Hajj with just a thousand pilgrims. The numbers were gradually raised as the health crisis was placed under control worldwide. Last year, almost 1.84 million pilgrims performed the “once in a lifetime” journey and the figure is expected to go higher this year.
Every year, on the ninth day of the Islamic month of Dul Hijjah, the black silk cloth is removed and a new kiswa is draped in its place.


Saudi Arabia welcomes move by Norway, Ireland and Spain to formally recognize Palestinian state

Updated 23 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia welcomes move by Norway, Ireland and Spain to formally recognize Palestinian state

  • Palestinian Authority and its rival group Hamas both welcomed the recognition
  • Israel recalls envoys to Spain, Ireland and Norway for consultations

RIYADH/COPENHAGEN: Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it welcomed the “positive” decision taken by Norway, Spain, and Ireland to recognize a Palestinian state. 
The Kingdom said it appreciated this decision “which confirms the international consensus on the inherent right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,” in a foreign ministry statement. 

The kingdom also called on more countries to swiftly take the same stance, “which would contribute to finding a reliable and irreversible path to achieve a just and lasting peace that fulfills the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Leaders of Norway, Spain and Ireland said on Wednesday they were formally going to recognize Palestine as a state.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said: “There cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also announced that the country’s council of ministers would recognize an independent Palestinian state on Tuesday May 28.

“Next Tuesday, May 28, Spain’s cabinet will approve the recognition of the Palestinian state,” he said, adding that his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu was putting the two state solution in “danger” with his policy of “pain and destruction” in the Gaza Strip.

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said it was a move coordinated with Spain and Norway, marking “an historic and important day for Ireland and for Palestine.”

The Palestinian Authority and its rival group Hamas both welcomed the recognition of a Palestinian state by Ireland, Spain and Norway.

The Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank territory while Hamas runs Gaza.

Jordan hailed the coordinated move as an “important and essential step towards Palestinian statehood.”

“We value this decision and consider it an important and essential step towards a two-state solution that embodies an independent, sovereign Palestinian state along the July 1967 borders,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told a press conference.

Qatar’s foreign ministry welcomed the announcement as an “important step in support of a two-state solution,” expressing hope that other countries would follow suit.

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council also spoke out in support of the European countries’ move, with secretary general Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi saying it represented “a pivotal and strategic step towards achieving the two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a statement said.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, based in the Saudi city of Jeddah, similarly welcomed the move as an “important historic step”.

Several European Union countries have in the past weeks indicated that they plan to make the recognition, arguing a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.

Israel recalled envoys to Spain, Ireland and Norway over their moves to recognize a Palestinian state.

“Today, I am sending a sharp message to Ireland and Norway: Israel will not go over this in silence. I have just ordered the return of the Israeli ambassadors from Dublin and Oslo to Israel for further consultations in Jerusalem,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a statement.

Sanchez said in March that Spain and Ireland, along with Slovenia and Malta, had agreed to take their first steps toward Palestinian recognition, seeing a two-state solution as essential for lasting peace.

The efforts come as a mounting death toll in Gaza from Israel’s offensive to rout Hamas prompts calls globally for a ceasefire and lasting solution for peace in the region.

Norway, which is not a member of the European Union but mirror its moves, has been an ardent supporter of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The terror has been committed by Hamas and militant groups who are not supporters of a two-state solution and the state of Israel,” the Norwegian government leader said.

“Palestine has a fundamental right to an independent state,” Gahr Store told a press conference.

The move comes as Israeli forces have led assaults on the northern and southern edges of the Gaza Strip in May, causing a new exodus of hundreds of thousands of people, and sharply restricted the flow of aid, raising the risk of famine.

The Scandinavian country “will therefore regard Palestine as an independent state with all the rights and obligations that entails,” Gahr Store said.

Norway’s recognition of a Palestine state comes more than 30 years after the first Oslo agreement was signed in 1993.

Since then, “the Palestinians have taken important steps toward a two-state solution,” the Norwegian government said.

It said that the World Bank determined that Palestine had met key criteria to function as a state in 2011, that national institutions have been built up to provide the population with important services.

“The war in Gaza and the constant expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank still mean that the situation in Palestine is more difficult than it has been in decades,” the Norwegian government said.


Black cloth covering Kaaba in Makkah raised ahead of Hajj

Updated 23 May 2024
Follow

Black cloth covering Kaaba in Makkah raised ahead of Hajj

  • The procedure is meant to keep the cover, known as kiswa, free from getting soiled and tampered with as pilgrims performing Hajj circumabulate the Kaaba

RIYADH: In keeping with the annual tradition, officials raised the lower part of the kiswa — the elaborately designed black cloth covering the Kaaba — in Makkah on Wednesday ahead of this year's Hajj pilgrimage.

As approved by the General Authority for the Care of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, the exposed part was covered with a white cotton fabric, two-and-a-half meters wide and 54 meters long on all four sides, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Carrying out the procedure were 36 specialized technical personnel with the aid of 10 cranes.

As described in the SPA report, the kiswa is lifted in several stages: It starts with unscrewing the bottom of the cover from all sides, separating the corners, then untying the bottom rope and removing it from the fixing rings, after which the cloth is rolled upward. The lanterns are then dismantled and the white cloth are put in place, after which the lanterns are reinstalled over the white cloth until the final stage.

The procedure is repeated every year to protect the kiswa from getting soiled and damaged as pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba.

The annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia is considered the world's largest human gathering, with year 2012 marking the biggest number of participants at 3.16 million.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi authorities allowed only a symbolic observance of Hajj with just a thousand pilgrims. The numbers were gradually raised as the health crisis was placed under control worldwide. Last year, almost 1.84 million pilgrims performed the "once in a lifetime" journey and the figure is expected to go higher this year.

Every year, on the ninth day of the Islamic month of Dul Hijjah, the black silk cloth is removed and a new kiswa is draped in its place.


Saudi authorities limit entry to Makkah to Hajj visa holders

Updated 23 May 2024
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Saudi authorities limit entry to Makkah to Hajj visa holders

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior announced that visit visa holders are not allowed to enter or stay in Makkah during May 23-June 21 as access to the city will be limited to Hajj visa holders.

The ministry stressed that all types of visit visa are not a permit to perform Hajj, adding that violators will be subject to penalties according to Saudi laws and regulations.


Saudi FM in Tehran conveys king, crown prince condolences for Iran president death

Updated 23 May 2024
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Saudi FM in Tehran conveys king, crown prince condolences for Iran president death

RIYADH: Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, conveyed the condolences of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to top Iranian officials in Tehran on Wednesday on the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions.

Prince Mansour bin Muteb bin Abdulaziz, Adviser to King Salman and Minister of State, and Prince Faisal were received by Deputy Chief of Staff for Political Affairs to Iran President Mohammad Jamshidi and Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani.

Saudi ambassador to Iran Abdullah Al-Enazi attended the reception.