Among the staple foods used in different countries in the Middle East, many people will certainly name dates right away.
Dates are the most popular fruit in the region. To celebrate the importance that dates have in the region, even special events dedicated to them are held.
One such event is the Sharjah Date Festival. In 2019, its first edition took place and judging by the successful results of the festival, this event promises to become traditional in the emirate. The event was held under the patronage of Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, it was organized by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and took place at the Expo Centre Sharjah.
Manufacturers and sellers of dates from all over the region gather here to showcase their products and communicate with buyers and industry colleagues. Manufacturers bring their products to the festival not only from Sharjah and other emirates but also from other countries of the region, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Oman, and others. The Festival gathers the best of the best manufacturers and prices will delight buyers.
Producers and sellers of dates are given the opportunity to open new markets and attract investment in this industry. The date market in the UAE is developing rapidly, in 2018 their production exceeded 500 thousand tons. Dates grown in the UAE are exported to 45 countries around the world and their sale is an important component of export earnings. From year to year, the UAE becomes one of the ten largest producers of dates and dates-related products in the world.
Visiting the festival you will be surprised how many types of these incredibly healthy and nutritious delicacies exist – several hundred types of dates, each delicious in its own way! At the festival, guests can try different varieties of dates, take part in culinary masterclasses and competitions, admire the works of art associated with these unique fruits, learn a lot of new information about the history of dates and the significance of dates and palm trees in the history of Sharjah and other emirates.
This event is not limited to the production and sale of dates. The traditions associated with this wonderful product and its place in the heritage of modern Arabs are also widely celebrated. One example of the traditional use of dates is that they are used as food for breaking the fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Such a tradition was started by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and is supported by Muslims with great respect. It is no wonder that in 2019, the Sharjah Date Festival was held immediately before the beginning of Ramadan since it is at this time that the demand for dates is growing because they are revered as one of the main and traditional products for those who fast.
Dates and palm trees played an important role in the development of the entire region for millennia, as evidenced by archaeological excavations. The survival of the first settlers of the region depended largely on palm trees. The importance of date palms is so high for Arab culture that they are even mentioned in the Quran. For example, this fruit is recommended for pregnant women.
Dates and palm trees are a kind of symbol of the culture of the UAE and neighboring regions. And festivals like the Sharjah Date Festival help honor the country’s rich cultural heritage and promote the development of the industry, forging cultural and economic ties with the world.