Lights, crescents and lanterns: It’s never too late for Ramadan decorations

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Jeddah residents looking for Ramadan and Eid decorations can find a wide variety of options at Al-Hadaya Center and Ya Balash among other local stores. (AN photo/Supplied)
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Jeddah residents looking for Ramadan and Eid decorations can find a wide variety of options at Al-Hadaya Center and Ya Balash among other local stores. (AN photo/Supplied)
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Updated 02 April 2024
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Lights, crescents and lanterns: It’s never too late for Ramadan decorations

  • It is never too late to put up festive lights for Ramadan while decorating for Eid

JEDDAH: During Ramadan, households across the Kingdom often use all types of decorations to create a warm and inviting atmosphere that captures the essence of the holy month.

Jeddah residents looking to purchase Ramadan and Eid decorations can find a wide variety of options at local shops including Al-Hadaya Center, Abyat, Ya Balash, Al-Bashawat, Bravo, and Day by Day KSA. These shops offer a diverse range of lanterns, string lights, and ornate tableware to enhance the festive spirit of Ramadan.




Jeddah residents looking for Ramadan and Eid decorations can find a wide variety of options at Al-Hadaya Center and Ya Balash among other local stores. (AN photo/Supplied)

Sufyan Raya, a senior digital marketing specialist at Al-Hadaya Center, told Arab News that 30 percent of the store’s inventory is dedicated to a diverse collection of Ramadan decorations. Additionally, 35 percent of the stock consists of related utensils.

“The most popular lanterns this year were hand-painted wooden lanterns imported from India and copper lanterns from Egypt. Al-Hadaya Center also featured both table and hanging lanterns, which experienced high demand this season.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Khayamiya patterns are derived from the Arabic word khayma, meaning tent, and are a popular motif during Ramadan.

• Hanging string or fairy lights around your living room and dining area can create a warm and inviting glow.

He added: “In preparation for the awaited Ramadan season, we supplied 66 containers from various countries like India, China, and Egypt. As for the main warehouse and the stores’ storage, all the inventory was depleted by 100 percent on the eve of Ramadan.”




Jeddah residents looking for Ramadan and Eid decorations can find a wide variety of options at Al-Hadaya Center and Ya Balash among other local stores. (AN photo/Supplied)

Dima Nabulsi, co-founder of catering and event planning firm Sisters and Co., told Arab News that every year is the same, yet special: “In Ramadan specifically there are things that never change … experience of Ramadan, the gatherings, the love given and received.”

“I love making sure my house is cozied up for the season but to me, simplicity is the key. When I do go to decorate for the month, you’ll find different centerpieces everywhere but bringing along with them the feel of peace, and this exactly is what I aim for in Ramadan, peace and calmness with a light heart. The same goes for my clients in our packages.”




Jeddah residents looking for Ramadan and Eid decorations can find a wide variety of options at Al-Hadaya Center and Ya Balash among other local stores. (AN photo/Supplied)

Every year, Sisters’ signature date balls are a memorable treat. This year, they also offer classic acrylic and wooden boxes, along with customized and traditional pottery ones with Ramadan goodies.

“In my personal opinion, when it comes to Ramadan’s trends, this year’s colors were a mix of blues, whites, and gold. The theme of having minimal small lanterns or lights is booming, around with the crescent being the main centerpiece as it is the holy month. And while every year has the same taste, there’s always a new twist to it that focuses on elegance,” Nabulsi said.




Jeddah residents looking for Ramadan and Eid decorations can find a wide variety of options at Al-Hadaya Center and Ya Balash among other local stores. (AN photo/Supplied)

Nema Sabea is a mother of five children who gives meticulous attention to home decoration every Ramadan season. “I’ve adorned my home with diverse decorations, giving each room a unique design. The dining room showcases a golden motif for the table, while the entrance boasts a bohemian style in black. The living room is enhanced with exquisite lighting and traditional wicker and straw decor.”

She makes sure to involve her children in the decoration process as it brings them “immense joy and happiness that’s evident in their eyes.”




Jeddah residents looking for Ramadan and Eid decorations can find a wide variety of options at Al-Hadaya Center and Ya Balash among other local stores. (AN photo/Supplied)

Preparing the kitchen and new dining sets for Ramadan is crucial in fostering a warm home atmosphere. “I’ve arranged the kitchen and established a prayer area, complete with an incense burner, Qur’an, and prayer beads, highlighting the significance of worship during this holy month and also to motivate my children for Ramadan.”

She added that she purchased new jalabiyas or kaftan dresses for her daughters from the 2024 Consmix National and Consumer Industries Exhibition in Jeddah last month.




Jeddah residents looking for Ramadan and Eid decorations can find a wide variety of options at Al-Hadaya Center and Ya Balash among other local stores. (AN photo/Supplied)

During a tour of the 2024 exhibition, Arab News interviewed Khider Ismail, renowned for operating one of Cairo’s leading lantern stalls in the historic Al-Darb Al-Ahmar area. This annual exhibition, held during Sha’ban and Ramadan, draws visitors for its festive atmosphere and diverse array of local and Arab culinary brand offerings.

This year marked a decade of participation for Ismail and his father, who had two stalls brimming with the latest Ramadan decor trends from Egypt. Their collection has become a highlight for festival goers. “This is our 10th consecutive year, including pre-pandemic times,” Ismail told Arab News. “Our visitors anticipate our new selections each year, and we’re committed to refreshing our offerings.”




Jeddah residents looking for Ramadan and Eid decorations can find a wide variety of options at Al-Hadaya Center and Ya Balash among other local stores. (AN photo/Supplied)

The lanterns on offer range from under one dollar to $267. There are over 200 types, ranging in size from 5 centimeters to 2 meters.

Additionally, Ismail’s stalls feature an array of characters from the “Fananees” TV series shown on MBC TV during Ramadan. These characters have become as beloved and iconic as classic Egyptian Ramadan figures like Fatouta, Bakkar, Boogy, and Tamtam.

“Surprisingly, this year’s bestsellers included linen tablecloths with updated khayamiya patterns in gray and pink hues and hand-embroidered tablecloths in various Ramadan themes. Small mesaharati drums for children were also among the most sought-after items, reflecting the enduring charm and appeal of Ramadan traditions,” he added.

Khayamiya patterns

Khayamiya patterns are derived from the Arabic word khayma, meaning tent. It is a decorative applique textile bearing distinct geometric and curvilinear arabesque patterns and has historically been used to decorate tents across the Middle East. It is believed to have originated in Egypt and has since made its way across the region. It has become widely popular in recent years, taking Saudi Arabia’s market by storm, and is now used for tablecloths, cushions, accessories, dresses, prints, and more.

Mesaharati

The mesaharati is a Ramadan-only phenomenon that is commonplace in Egypt and Levant neighborhoods. The mesaharati is a person dressed in traditional attire, who goes around shouting and banging on a drum to wake people up for sahoor.

It is an honored tradition that continues to this day.

Create a festive atmosphere at home

Transforming your home into a festive paradise for Ramadan does not have to be complicated, and it is never too late to put up lights and spruce up your space. Here are some simple ideas to set the stage for a memorable end to the month of reflection and celebration:

1.⁠ ⁠Create a Ramadan-inspired table setting with elegant dinnerware, gold-trimmed glasses, and embroidered napkins. Add a centerpiece of fresh flowers or candles to elevate the ambiance.

2.⁠ ⁠Hang string or fairy lights around your living room and dining area to create a warm and inviting glow. Mix and match different sizes and shapes for a whimsical touch.

3.⁠ ⁠Incorporate traditional elements such as dates, Arabic coffee sets, and incense burners to infuse your home with the scents and flavors of the holy month.

 


A journey through time: Tahlel Museum’s tribute to Asir’s culture 

Updated 42 min 12 sec ago
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A journey through time: Tahlel Museum’s tribute to Asir’s culture 

  • The museum is home to many heritage pieces, including coins, traditional costumes, wood art, and agricultural tools
  • It also includes the owner's artistic works of Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, geometric shapes, and tribal symbols painted in vibrant colors 

ASIR: Perched atop the Souda Mountains in the Abha region of Asir province in southern Saudi Arabia is a modest museum created by an Asiri woman called Halima Asiri. 

Passionate about old Saudi heritage, Asiri established the Tahlel Museum in a small traditional house. 

Halima Asiri is a woman who is passionate about old Saudi heritage, which led her to establish the Tahlel Museum. The museum is a small house in the shape of old Saudi buildings. (AN photo by Rahaf Jambi)

It includes many heritage pieces, including coins, traditional costumes, wood art, and agricultural tools. It also includes her artistic works of Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, geometric shapes, and tribal symbols painted in vibrant colors. 

“This is my small museum, where I exhibit the work of Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, a kind of natural color painting that have been certified by UNESCO as part of the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Each pattern has a name and a symbolic meaning. Men do not practice this art, thus women are the only ones who specialize in it,” Asiri told Arab News. 

Asiri is one of the few women who still uses natural materials to create the art of Al-Qatt Al-Asiri. These colors are extracted from coal, rice, turmeric, pomegranate peel, stones and other sources. 

“I take 24 colors from nature, such as clover, coal, stone, and leaves, grind them into a paste, and use that paste to paint canvases and walls,” she said.

Ancient coffee and teapots, clay cups, copper household utensils, and other artifacts are on display in one of the rooms. 

Tahlel Museum owner Halima Asiri is one of the few women who still uses natural materials to create the art of Al-Qatt Al-Asiri. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

“The handcrafted items found here date back to 400-500 years, and the people of the Asir region used them all,” Asiri said. 

She incorporated a model of the old town in which she formerly resided in the museum. The town has since fallen into ruin. 

“The old roads were difficult, and women had to carry wood, walk, and climb mountains to get to their homes. The model that I constructed depicts the hardship and strength of women in Asir,” she explained. 

The museum also features the traditional attire worn by women in the Asir region. 

“I have items of clothing that Asir women wear on their wedding night. I also have regular clothes, like straw hats,” she added. 

Asiri started collecting antiques that date back centuries when she was young, and she made sure to collect antiques and present them in her museum in a unique way. 

There are numerous kinds of swords, weapons, and clothing that the locals used in battle displayed on the walls. 

The location also features a workshop where guests can learn how to paint Al-Qatt Al-Asiri works, in addition to selling her artwork on commission. 

“I teach Al-Qatt Al-Asiri art as a trainer. I frequently get big groups of people, and not so long ago, I trained a group of foreign women,” she said. 

The museum is also linked to a cafe where she serves traditional Asiri dishes like areekah using natural honey. 

“Many foreigners have visited, including ambassadors and ministers,” she said. 

Asiri greets visitors when entering the museum with a famous Asiri phrase, “a thousand welcomes.”

Owing to its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, the Asir region is highly sought-after by those seeking to explore unspoiled landscapes, wander through charming villages, and explore historic castles. 
 


Saudi crown prince speaks to acting Iranian president in light of tragedy

Updated 25 May 2024
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Saudi crown prince speaks to acting Iranian president in light of tragedy

  • President Ebrahim Raisi and others were killed in helicopter crash 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made a telephone call on Friday to Mohammad Mokhber, the acting Iranian president, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The crown prince sent his condolences following the deaths of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and others in a helicopter crash earlier this week.

Mokhber expressed his thanks to the crown prince for his kind sentiments.

The two sides also spoke of achievements in bilateral relations between the countries, stressing the importance of continuing to enhance cooperation.

The Iranian president, foreign minister and six others were killed on Sunday when the helicopter in which they were traveling crashed in dense fog in mountainous terrain near Iran’s border with Azerbaijan.


Saudi Arabia welcomes World Court ruling on Gaza

Updated 25 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia welcomes World Court ruling on Gaza

  • Kingdom said it appreciated the ICJ decision, which it called a positive step towards the moral and legal right of the Palestinian people

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed the Kingdom’s welcoming of a decision made Friday by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering Israel to immediately stop military attacks or any other offensive actions in Rafah, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Kingdom said it appreciated the ICJ decision, which it called a positive step towards the moral and legal right of the Palestinian people.

It stressed the importance that international resolutions should involve all Palestinian areas in accordance with the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy.

Saudi Arabia also reiterated its call to the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to stop all forms of aggression against the Palestinian people.


Hatching of red-necked ostrich chicks highlights success of Saudi royal reserve’s breeding program

Updated 25 May 2024
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Hatching of red-necked ostrich chicks highlights success of Saudi royal reserve’s breeding program

  • The Imam Turki Royal Nature Reserve launched its ostrich conservation scheme in 2021 to rescue this critically engaged species 
  • Saudi Arabia’s second largest royal reserve is dedicated to providing secure habitats to allow the Kingdom’s wildlife to thrive

RIYADH: In a significant boost for biodiversity in the Kingdom, the Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Royal Nature Reserve Development Authority recently announced the hatching of three endangered red-necked ostrich chicks — a species that had been considered extinct in Saudi Arabia.

At the end of 2021, the royal reserve launched a scheme to reintroduce ostriches to the wild, creating a habitat for a male and a female. The ostriches soon adapted to the reserve and laid their first clutch of 12 eggs in the spring of 2024, three of which hatched naturally.

The royal reserve is dedicated to providing a suitable environment for endangered species to help increase their numbers, restore biodiversity, and provide a safe haven for animals like reem gazelle, Arabian oryx, red-necked ostrich, and others to flourish in the wild.

“The red-necked ostrich, also known as the North African ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus), is currently classified as critically endangered,” Abdulmajeed Aldhaban, executive vice president of operations at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Natural Reserve Development Authority, told Arab News.“This subspecies faces significant threats due to habitat loss, hunting, and egg collection, which have led to a dramatic decline in its population over the past 100 years.”

 The red-necked ostrich is not the only bird species the reserve has sought to revitalize through breeding programs, captive breeding techniques, and habitat restoration to bolster its population. The houbara bustard has been another success story.

 

The royal reserve is dedicated to providing a suitable environment for endangered species to help increase their numbers, restore biodiversity, and provide a safe haven for animals like reem gazelle, Arabian oryx, red-necked ostrich, and others to flourish in the wild. (Supplied)

 

“In March, the Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Royal Nature Reserve Development Authority started construction of a state-of-the-art aviculture center on the reserve,” said Aldhaban.

“This was part of the authority’s comprehensive plan to conserve wildlife in general and, specifically, protect the endangered houbara bustard in its natural habitat.”

Despite its arid climate and vast desert landscape, the Kingdom is home to a wealth of distinctive species, occupying its dunes, mountains, valleys and coastlines. (Shutterstock)

He added: “The center comprises 22 facilities, including administrative buildings, breeding facilities, clinics, and laboratories, spanning an area of 4 sq. km. The first phase of breeding is set to commence by the end of 2024.”

Saudi Arabia’s rich biodiversity has long been overlooked by environmentalists. Despite its arid climate and vast desert landscape, the Kingdom is home to a wealth of distinctive species, occupying its dunes, mountains, valleys and coastlines.

Local conservationists believe they have an obligation to protect these terrestrial and marine habitats and maintain the ecological balance for the benefit of the Kingdom’s wildlife and for generations to come.

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Officials have therefore outlined a set of biodiversity conservation goals under various initiatives like Vision 2030 and the Saudi Green Initiative designed to work in partnership with civil society groups and the private sector.

One focus is the design of protected areas. 

During an interview with Arab News at the Hima forum in Riyadh last April, Mohammed Qurban, the CEO of the National Center for Wildlife in Saudi Arabia, outlined the Kingdom’s aim to protect 30 percent of the Kingdom’s terrestrial and marine areas by 2030.

The Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Natural Reserve, where the red-necked ostriches hatched last month, covers an area of more than 91,500 sq km, making it the second largest royal protected area in the Kingdom, home to 138 species of animal and 179 species of plant. (Supplied)

This goal includes the creation of wildlife sanctuaries and restoration programs to restore natural habitats and protect endangered animal species such as the Arabian oryx, red-necked ostrich, gazelle, and Arabian leopard.

The Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Natural Reserve, where the red-necked ostriches hatched last month, covers an area of more than 91,500 sq. km, making it the second-largest royal protected area in the Kingdom, home to 138 species of animal and 179 species of plant.

Despite its arid climate and vast desert landscape, the Kingdom is home to a wealth of distinctive species, occupying its dunes, mountains, valleys and coastlines. (SPA)

Situated in the country’s northeast, close to the border with Iraq, the reserve is a popular destination for tourists interested in hiking and bird watching.

In 2018, the royal reserve declared three key objectives, including the conservation of biodiversity, the development of the reserve as a destination for ecotourism, and the aim of generating socio-economic benefits for local communities.

The Natural Reserve Development Authority has registered the reserve in the World Database on Protected Areas. It has also earned global recognition after being nominated for the International Union for Conservation of Nature Green List in 2023.
 

 


French president Macron meets with Arab delegation to discuss Gaza

Updated 25 May 2024
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French president Macron meets with Arab delegation to discuss Gaza

  • The two ministers discussed Saudi-French relations
  • Also discussed the situation in Gaza

PARIS: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan headed an Arab ministerial delegation in a meeting with the French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday. 

Prince Faisal was joined at the meeting by Qatari prime minister and foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Al-Safadi, and the Egyptian minister of foreign affairs Sameh Shoukry, Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the meeting, the situation in the Gaza Strip as a result of the ongoing Israeli aggression was discussed, as well as the need to intensify international efforts aimed at an immediate and complete ceasefire. 

The two sides also talked about ensuring the protection of civilians and the delivery of adequate and sustainable humanitarian aid to all parts of Gaza.

They reiterated the need for an independent Palestinian state and for the international community to hold Israel accountable for its actions in the Palestinian territories.

During his trip to Paris, Prince Faisal also met with the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Stephane Sejourne on Friday.

During the meeting, the two ministers discussed Saudi-French relations and ways to enhance them and ways to improve coordination on various issues of mutual concern, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The two ministers also discussed the situation in Gaza and its surroundings and the need to deliver humanitarian assistance to the civilians in the enclave.

The meeting was also attended by Saudi Ambassador to France Fahd bin Mayouf Al-Ruwaili, the Foreign Minister's office director general Abdulrahman Al-Dawood, and ministry Advisor Manal Radwan.