After the pilgrimage to Mecca and the Hajj, is there a most stimulating event than the annual camel beauty pageant?
Nearly 20,000 camels from the UAE and other Gulf Arab countries have converged on Abu Dhabi’s western region for one of the world’s largest camel beauty contests involving prizes worth nearly Dh35 million.
The camels have been brought from various parts of the UAE as well as neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and other Gulf nations for the week-long beauty competition in the western town of Dhafra.
The contest, which started on Thursday, will stretch until next Friday and officials described it as one of the largest camel beauty pageantry events in the world in terms of the value of prizes and number of camels.
More than 800 camel owners from the UAE and other regional nations are participating in the event, which is sponsored by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince and deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces. It is organized by the Culture and Heritage Authority.
Camel beauty contests and races are among the most popular events in the Arabian Peninsula along with falconing and other desert activities. Camel races are held regularly in all Gulf countries and attended by top officials and sheikhs but they are suspended in summer because of the heat.
The UAE had around 378,000 camels at the end of 2008 while there were nearly 870,000 camels in Saudi Arabia, and124,000 in Oman.