Every year, over 30,000 camels are brought together to take part in a Festival and Camel Beauty Contest.
31 January 2017| Last updated on 27 June 2017
Yes, you read that right - a beauty contest just for camels! Every year, over 30,000 camels are brought together to take part in King Abdulaziz’s prestigious Mazayen Al-ibl Heritage Festival and Camel Beauty Contest.
It’s taking place in Riyadh from March 19 to April 15, 2017.
This is not just any festival though – it actually attracts over 2 million attendees from all over the world! The heritage event is held in appreciation of the significant role camels play in Bedouin history. The festival is a way to maintain the Kingdom’s heritage, culture and way of life.
Looks do matter...
The camels are judged by a committee of Bedouins and winning camels can sometimes go for millions of riyals. They are assessed in five categories, based on their breed and colour.
If you were wondering if their physical features are actually evaluated, yes they are! The size of the camel's head, the length of its neck, the roundness of its hump, the size of its eyes, whether its lips cover its teeth, if its nose droops, if its ears stay up, even how long its eyelashes are! We promise you we’re not making this up.
Not all camels deserve the love
Not all camels are allowed to participate. They have to be purebred and be located in Saudi. Vets from the country’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture verify that the camels are healthy and they insert a microchip to allow for tracking and collecting data.
Historically, and even for some today, the special relationship with the camel has always been very much cherished by tribes across the peninsula. Camels were not just a main source of transport, but also considered a loyal friend and a reliable source of milk and shade in the hot vast desert.
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Camels are regarded as a sign of wealth and high social standing. That’s why thousands of camel owners show up at this event in hopes of having their camel win all the attention.
Aside from watching the camel parades, festival visitors can enjoy other activities such as poetry, folk songs, feasts and camel auctions. The festival aims to connect old generations with new ones.