Plenty of reasons to visit the old district…

Excited about Sikka Art and Design Festival this week? Well, that won’t be the only festival taking place this weekend as you will also be able to catch another celebration in Al Shindagha Historic Neighbourhood – Hag Al Leila.

Hag Al Laila is a tradition where children across the UAE go around their neighbourhoods to sing and collect sweets and treats from their neighbours. The celebration takes place in the middle of Sha’ban – the eighth month of the Islamic calendar.

Hag Al Leila

The weekend festivities will include a programme of exciting and heritage-rooted activities all of which will highlight the importance of popular tradition and its place in the local community. It begins on February 23, 2024.

Here’s what you can expect…

For an interactive experience, there will be several workshops the whole family can get involved in. One highlight is the jewellery-making workshop called ‘Making of Marriya Umm Al Schnaff’ where little ones will be able to explore the traditional craft of jewellery making.

Other workshops will focus on traditional Emirati attire and its importance in local culture, and henna workshops where children will learn to mix henna and create unique designs.

Hag Al Leila

Additionally, there will be traditional Emirati games such as ‘Al Karabi’ – a game of balance and a little coordination, and ‘Shad Al Habl’ a game using pebbles. 

And of course, to keep the tradition alive, children will be able to collect sweets and gifts while touring between the houses.

Speaking about the upcoming festival, Abdalla Al Obeidli, Acting Manager of Al Shindagha Museum at Dubai Culture, stated, “Celebrating ‘Hag Al Leila’ reflects the Auhtority’s interest in preserving Emirati folklore and enhancing the younger generations’ connection to local heritage, introducing them to our community’s key values ​​of generosity, love, tolerance, and fostering unity.”

About Sikka Art Festival


Running from Friday, February 23 to March 3, Sikka Art Festival, now called Sikka Art & Design Platform is sure to give you a good dose of art, culture and heritage. The nine-day festival will showcase emerging talent from the UAE and beyond, presenting a diverse range of art installations, photography, live performances, film screenings, music, workshops, panels, food and more.


Images: Dubai Culture and Unsplash