It’s also a celebration of Emirati culture!

The Al Dhafra Camel Festival, Abu Dhabi is a major attraction for people across the Gulf region. A camel beauty contest might sound super-strange to most people, but it’s a pretty regular event in the region. What began as a festival that focused mainly on camels and camel breeding was combined with the cultural event at Al Dhafra. This year, the ninth edition of the festival began on December 10, and ends today. The 2015 edition was also the largest yet, stretching for 20 days, with over 15 different art and heritage activities and competitions.

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From purebred Arabian horse race, falcon competitions and saluki races to sour milk, dates packaging, sheep beauty contest and camel competitions, this festival has everything. “Over the years, the mazayna (camel beauty contests) categories, laps and prizes have grown to reach over 25,000 participating camels. Only camel owners from the Arab Gulf region are allowed to participate in the mazayna, which has been described by international media as the ‘biggest camel gathering in history’,” said chairman Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei.

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