Al-Quffal day marked with festivities, heritage exhibition

Around 175 participants onboard 13 dhows returned to the shore yesterday to a warm welcome and effusive praise after the conclusion of the 30th annual pearl diving expedition. The ceremony to mark the day of return, known as 'Al-Quffal', was held in the presence of HH the Amir's representative and Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Adel Al-Kharafi at the Kuwait Sea Sports Club (KSSC) in Salmiya. Also present for the festivities was US Ambassador to Kuwait Lawrence Silverman.

The ceremony began with a tour of a marine heritage exhibition, which included diving images and art and heritage collections. After the dhows arrived, the sailors displayed their harvest of pearls. The Al-Quffal day concluded with a flag ceremony marking the end of the diving season.

This annual tradition is considered a milestone for reviving Kuwaiti marine heritage and culture on the national, regional and international arenas. Kharafi praised the participation of young people in this journey despite its hardships and difficulties in very unstable and hot weather, pointing out this participation reflects the authenticity of the Kuwaiti youth and their sincere desire to preserve the heritage and past of their forefathers.

Secretary General of KSSC Khalid Al-Foudari said "HH the Amir is the one who encourages us to continue - he cares, supports and orders the club to take part". He praised the effectiveness and historical significance of the trip, adding that Kuwait participated last year in diving trips in Bahrain. "We hope that GCC youth will participate in the 31st annual pearl diving trip next year," he added.

The diving trip began last Thursday with the "Dasha" ceremony, in which the dhows left the club for Khairan, where there are abundant oysters, to take part in the actual diving process over the course of a week in the old traditional way. The trip was held in difficult weather conditions with high temperatures and humidity. KSSC has hosted the annual pearl diving trip for the last 30 years, and young sailors from Kuwait and other Gulf countries take part in this traditional activity. Under the leadership of experienced captains, the young men embark on a weeklong sea voyage where they anchor off Khairan and dive for pearls.

By Faten Omar