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Visit Saudi Arabia

Wish You Were Here: Today is Founding Day in Saudi Arabia

KSA FOunding Day
Written by Juergen Steinmetz

February is a perfect day to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Events to show off traditional crafts, culture, and heritage are planned across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this weekend until

Live music and dance performances are scheduled in cities including Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam.

Festivities are expected to three days, with both public and private sectors given a long weekend until Sunday

It will start on Thursday the 22nd of February. The day when the cornerstone of the nation was laid, and security and stability were gained in 1727 Under the lead of Imam Mohammed bin Saud. National holidays are highly celebrated by Saudis as they look forward to such days during the year and the founding day is not an exception. The celebrations of this glorious day last to the late hours of the night.

Foundation of the Saudi State

The first Saudi state was founded on Islamic principles which promote justice, and societal unity. At that time, Diriyah, the capital of the Saudi state then, prospered and became an oasis of culture and knowledge, as well as a business center. Travelers and pilgrims sought rest there as well. Those principles became the roots of the Second Saudi State and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which its leaders continue to pursue its development.

What was the First Saudi State?

Although Mohammed bin Saud came to power in Diriyah in 1727, the establishment of the First Saudi State is usually dated to 1744.

It was in this year that he allied with Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab, a religious scholar who led a movement that called for a return to the “true” version of Islam.

This alliance was at the heart of the First Saudi State, also known as the Emirate of Diriyah, the first of three Saudi states.

From Diriyah, the Al Saud dynasty quickly expanded to conquer much of the Arabian Peninsula, including the Hejaz region, home to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.

This expansion was seen as a threat by the Ottoman Empire, the region’s major power, which sought to restore its influence in Arabia.

After a seven-year war, Ottoman-allied forces led by Egypt’s Ibrahim Pasha defeated the Al Saud and destroyed Diriyah, bringing an end to the First Saudi State in 1818.

Traditional costumes

Founding Day captures the history and brings it to life as children and adults are proud of wearing traditional costumes. Unlike what’s commonly believed, Saudi white was not the formal men’s attire back then. It was a hidden part in more than 8 traditional attires for men varies depending on climate and region.

As for women, their attire varied depending on the region but all were modest and vibrant with color and beads, while also covering a big part of the hair. As part of the traditional costume, henna is considered an important component of traditional beauty for women in Saudi. It is used usually to paint fingertips and palms, in addition to the soles of the feet for both men and women.

Music and dances

Folklore dances are an integral part of the Saudi national celebrations and are accompanied by traditional songs derived from societal calls that illicit pride and excitement and enhance the bonds among them. Saudi Ardah is on the top list of traditional dances. Back in the day, men performed this dance to welcome with pride the men who returned victor from war. Today Ardah is performed in the founding day as well as other celebrations to exhibit the unity and strong bond of Saudis.

Drinks and food

It is common to cook and serve traditional food and desserts in this day. Saudi coffee is the highlight of the heritage ground. It is prepared from roasted beans along with saffron and cardamom and is served usually with sweets in cafes.

The founding day is an excellent opportunity to try jareesh, which is a Saudi dish made from grounded wheat and cooked with laban and meat then decorated with caramelised onions and dried limes.

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