This year, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls all took part, with opportunities to sample Bahraini food and enjoy live entertainment. There were plenty of retail experiences, of course, with restaurants and shops offering the chance to win substantial prizes.
At the Heart of the 2017 calendar is the Bahrain Spring of Culture.
Now in its 12th year, Spring of Culture is part of a major ‘Our Year of Archaeology’ celebration of Bahrain’s heritage. The festival’s varied highlights include:
‘Antar and Abla’, a dazzling work produced by Opera Lebanon at the Bahrain National Theatre.
Arab and international singers, including Majed Al Muhandis and Waleed Al Shami, soprano trio Musica Scotto le Stelle, plus Chelsey Green and the Green Project Ensemble, guitarist Paco Renteria, Blues singer Dana Gillespie, and chart-topping band UB40 with Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue. Visitors can even enjoy a performance featuring workers of the Bahrain National Quarry.
As well as seminars on food culture and ancient Bahraini civilisations, there are talks on culture, poetry, literature and Middle Eastern studies held in cooperation with the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research. Speakers include Saudi broadcaster and journalist Dawood Al-Shirian, Tunisia’s former Minister of Culture Sonia M’barek and Palestinian artist and writer Raeda Taha. Lectures take place in venues as diverse as the Qal’at Al Bahrain Site Museum and Heraf Al Diyar.
Spring of Culture sees the launch of major cultural infrastructure projects including Dar Al-Riffa Al-Oda in East Riffa and Al-Maktaba Al-Khalifiya in Muharraq. There will also be a focus on important historical sites, such as Al-Khamis Mosque, regarded as the most significant Islamic archaeological site in the Gulf region, and will be highlighted as part of a conference in the Bahrain National Museum centring on Islamic Archaeology.
Film and photography
There’s a special Japan Film Festival, arranged with the Japanese Embassy and the Japan Foundation in the Kingdom of Bahrain that will include prominent Japanese films from a range of genres. There will also be a screening of ‘The Pearl Diver’, which chronicles the history of natural pearl diving. Keen photographers can take part in dedicated seminars and treat themselves to the UNESCO World Heritage-inscribed ‘Pearling Path’ and ‘Do You Trust Me?’ photography exhibitions.
Education and workshops
Adults and children can experience a ‘How to Make Pearl Jewellery’ workshop that follows a three-kilometre journey tracing the historical pearling path; a ‘My Dish, My Gift’ cooking workshop, plus workshops on traditional Bahraini crafts such as carpet making and silversmithing.
Spring of Culture is organised by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, the Bahrain Economic Development Board and Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research in collaboration with Albareh Art Gallery, Al Riwaq Art Space and La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art.
For the full calendar: www.springofculture.org. Twitter: @SpringofCulture
Click here to buy tickets for the upcoming events from here.
More than 100,000 visitors are expected over the span of the three-day event, which marks the first night race of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship season, and the fourth consecutive year that the event has been held after dark at Sakhir.
If you are there on the Sunday, you will experience a thrilling 57-lap, 308 km night race that is bound to set the desert sky ablaze. Thanks to a superb floodlighting system, visitors get to follow the cars into the external desert area before returning to the ‘oasis’ infield. It’s a highly atmospheric spectacle.
Join the action by visiting https://bahraingp.com/ to buy your tickets.