KUWAIT: Kuwaitis join the parade yesterday as up to 27 government ministries and agencies and 13 Arab and foreign embassies and 80 floats took part in the Hala February 2016 festival, culminating in a colorful parade and marching bands on Gulf Road. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Hala February 2016 Carnival kicked off yesterday at the Kuwait towers. The 17th edition of the annual festival entitled 'Kuwait Al-Atta' (giving) recorded a huge turnout. Up to 27 government ministries and agencies and 13 Arab and foreign embassies and 80 floats took part in the festival yesterday, culminating in a colorful parade and marching bands on the Gulf Road. The Carnival started with a sea show by the Kuwait Navy Force, the Ministry of Defense, the Coast Guard, Ministry of Interior and Kuwait Fire Service Directorate. The Police Aviation Services as well as gliders belonging to the scientific Club also participated during the March.

The parade was held under the auspices of Minister of Information and State Minister for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah. This year's festival coincides with the 10th anniversary of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah's assumption of power, the 25th anniversary since Liberation Day, and the 55th anniversary of the National Day.

Embassies taking part in the parade include; Indonesia, Jordan, the UAE, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, Palestine, Sudan, Iran, India, Egypt, South Africa and South Korea. The festival regaled onlookers with an air show and a marine show besides the parade of floats and marching bands, among other offerings. The festival kicks off the shopping bonanza in February each year - energizing the shopping season in the country and promoting tourism, chairman of the organizing committee for "Hala February" festival Walid Al-Saqubi said. He said there were many events lined up for the month of February that would resonate well with the public, stressing that talented Kuwaiti youths were welcome to join in.

At the end of the carnival, a concert was held - featuring Bilal Al-Shami, Ali Abduallah and Fatouma. The Hala February Festival is aimed at promoting tourism as lots of people from GCC countries come to Kuwait with their families to celebrate. Activities include; concerts, shopping, sports and poetry seminars. There are other activities such as Hala February's camp that started from January 16 to March 1 in Bnaider road 258.

The upcoming concerts will be at Hala February Theater in Ice Skating Rink featuring Ibrahim Dashti, Hatem Abbas and Saad Al-Mujrad. The fourth concert will be held on February 4, 2016 with singers Ismael Mubark, Nabeel Shael, and Ahlam performing. While the last concert will be on February 5, 2016 (with Bahraini Hend, Shieren, and Hussain Al-Jassmi participating).

For poetry-lovers, there will be poetry recitals at Hala February Theater from January 31 to February 3, and from February 7 to February 10. There will be also entertainment shows and competitions at Dabous complex in Fahaheel, Dabous complex in Farwaniya and Beirut complex. The Hala February Carnival which started in 1999 has now become a local tradition in Kuwait. Kuwaitis consider the Hala February Festival as a good omen to start the year. This is the month when Kuwait celebrates its National Day of Independence (Feb 25) and Liberation Day (Feb 26).

By Faten Omar, Agencies