Saudi, will all its reforms and plans to provide women with more freedoms, is still far from hosting a women’s beauty pageant.
But the country will have an all female cast of stunning, fast and tall camel beauties which will be showing off their best attributes in a time-honoured tradition in the kingdom.
And like every year the event is attracting legions of fans and with them business.
The areas and roads surrounding the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival have witnessed a significant trade growth since the launch of the Festival on January 1st, 2018 with salespeople saying their sales increased 80% due to the festival which runs to till February 1st.
At stake is $57 million in total prize money, and a soon to be crowned “Miss Camel”, according to Forbes Middle East.
Can anyone participate?
GCC only event
Saudi and GCC citizens can register for all categories, except for the category ’20 production’ limited to Saudis only.
Registration in fact started the 17th of October and ended the 15th of November 2017, and participation is exclusively for she-camels, aged at least 1-2 years old, with the rare exception of one male to merely complete the numbers of the camels needed.
Forbes reported that this January, the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival will see 26,898 camels competing for a piece of the $57 million in all prize competitions, needing to win on obedience, beauty and racing.
“The most beautiful camels in six categories will each receive $5.2 million along with the King Abdulaziz Award For Camel Beauty, known globally as “Miss Camel.” Categories are divided based on the camel’s color, and one winner from each category will receive an award,” said Forbes.
The festival is held 120 kilometers from Riyadh in the desert terrains of Al-Dahna.
“Camel races are divided into five categories, and each category has a public and private race. The winners of each of these will receive $2.5 million.”
According to British Daily Mail, “the camels will be judged on their features, must abide by a strict set of criteria for ‘untouched natural beauty’ – which advises having curly hair, pert ears, long lashes and a high, perfectly positioned hump.”
“Camels are assessed in five categories, according to breed and colour.”
Courtesy of the DailyMail
King Abdulaziz Camels Festival will include entertainment such as poetry, folk songs, feasts and camel auctions.
Other festivals, such as Al Dhafar festival in Abu Dhabi, also celebrate these historically important animals with substantial monetary prizes.
UAE Camel tradition
Some 15,000 camels from across the Arabian Peninsula participated in the tenth edition of the Al Dhafra Festival, Abu Dhabi on the edge of the Empty Quarter desert in December 2017.
Organized by the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee, Abu Dhabi, and set just outside Madinat Zayed, some 1,500 competitors and their camels competed for AED38 million ($10.5m) in prizes.
It is not just about beauty, but also best dates and falcon auctions, a popular bazar, and Saluki dogs races.
According to the festivals committee, this is the one festival that embodies the spirit of heritage in this part of the world.
“If Paris fashion week in undoubtedly the main yearly must go to event for the Haute Couture world, then AlDhafra festival is the place to be for the lovers and admirers of bedouin life and culture,” it said on its webpage.
The program of the festival celebrates first and foremost the famous Mazayna, a beauty contest for camels and a celebration of this most beloved animal that played a huge role in sustaining life in these arid lands long before the oil and wealth era.
Alongside the many cultural aspects, the festival constitutes an undisputed venue for huge business deals and multi million dollars camel purchases.