Saudi Arabia: The Annual Janadriyah Festival

The annual Janadriyah festival which showcases the cultures and traditions of Saudi Arabia will open on February 8th.  King Abdullah will oversee the honor of opening the event which will run for a two week period.

The Janadriyal festival is one of the best means for anyone – whether an expatriate or a Saudi – to experience the traditions and customs of each province within Saudi Arabia.  The event showcases the National Unity within the Kingdom and its unique regions.

The event will have something for everyone such as demonstrations of dances from the differing regions of Saudi Arabia, appetizing foods typical of throughout Saudi Arabia, arts, crafts, camel rides, poetry readings and much more!

The local newspapers, television and web site, will have ongoing information about the festival along with a schedule of events.

The Ministry of Culture states that activities will be non-segregated but I suggest that this be confirmed before going as a family only to discover admission is for men-only or vice versa.

If you live anywhere near Riyadh, this is an event you would not want to miss!

I strongly encourage American Bedu readers who do attend Janadriyah to provide your feedback and experience of the event!


21 Responses

  1. Ahhhh Janadriya time!! This year it’s really early!

    I can’t wait to go, will be my fifth year in a row. it’s the event of the year for me 🙂

    I’m trying to get to see the camel races this year, it’s male only but there is a way to get in..will see. always wanted to see a camel race!

    I have some pics from last years festival here:

  2. Oh and for the timings (which every year seems impossible to find reliable info on) as follows:
    Men only: 9th-12th Feb 4pm-12 am
    Families: 13th – 24th Feb 4 pm- 12am
    Schools: 11th- 12th Feb 9 am-12pm

  3. Thanks for the info on timings, Laylah.

    Janadriyah really is THE event to see in Saudi.

  4. Laylah, thanks for the timings.
    Any other advice and tips on the event.

  5. It was a wonderfull experience! I admire your blog since I moved to Riyadh (last year), and I can understand your love for this country.

  6. @Corina – Welcome to American Bedu! I’d love to hear more about your experience at Janadriyah.

  7. Well, per usual…I am late to the “party.” I see the last post was a month ago and I am just now making my comments. I just want to say that Al Janadriyah was the best experience I have had in years. I was very fortunate to get a tourist visa so that I could attend this festival that I had dreamed of for so long. My only regret is that I did not see everything as my timing was way off. I spent 6 days in Riyadh and thought the festival would be going on my entire visit. I went on February 23rd and it was AMAZING! The closest thing we have to this in the U.S. is a state fair. I went by myself but never felt alone. I really want to post a video that I made but do not want to disrespect people. As I look on the internet, it appears that there are some who were critical of the festivities. I can’t say too much as it is not my culture and I am still learning. Still, what I witnessed were human beings celebrating life…celebrating Saudi life (like this blog)! It was amazing and I am thankful that I could be a part of it, alhamdulilah!

    Actually, my entire trip was amazing. I am Christian (not a very good one) but never felt as close to God as I did in Riyadh. Inshallah, I will return to Riyadh and Janadriyah next year…I will also finally get to Jeddah so I can have my first taste of Al Baik, Inshallah! May God bless you all…

  8. I am not thinking correctly…I was at the festival on the 16th of February. I agree with Laylah…it is difficult to plan (especially if you are traveling from overseas). I got the dates from the Saudi Embassy in D.C. but I think they may have changed by the time I got there. The concierge at the hotel, I was at, told me that the day I went (Thursday) was the last day but I know it was also on Friday (the following day). I was upset on the way to the festival as even my cab driver told me that it was not the last day. Still, God had a plan for me that night so I was sent for a reason (I ran into the person who taught me a year ago, the phrase “Ya hadinah wayah di kum Allah” I know I spelled it wrong but it means God is guiding me and God is guiding you. Among thousands of people at the festival, God guided me to a location and guided this person, who I only met once a year ago, to the same location. He remembered me and I started crying. My whole trip was like this…God had messages for me all along the way). While I got over being mad at the concierge, I may never stop having nightmares about the drive out there…three lanes of traffic that turned into about seven…I had heard about Saudi driving (maybe even on this site) but never imagined the reality. “Mr. Toad” has NOTHING on THAT “wild ride!!!”

  9. when is the festival
    this year

  10. Not sure, Susan. Inshallah, I will some day be able to figure out why the dates are such a mystery. As I mentioned last year, I got the dates from the Embassy in D.C. Keep in mind, however, that the dates given to you will probably follow the Islamic calendar, NOT the Christian calendar. I will, inshallah, return to Riyadh on January 24th, this year. Hopefully, I will be able to attend the festival (and take some Saudi friends who have never been!) before returning to the States. With the lack of knowledge about actual dates, I would just keep the entire month of February open to be sure (I am sure your boss will understand!!!). Hope you have a great time (buy some honey from the South! Eat those little puff pastries with tabbouleh inside. Find you way to the little stadium and enjoy the drums, etc., etc.,etc. Most importantly, come back here and let us know about your experiences and how wonderful Saudi people are!!!

  11. Here’s what I was able to find:

    Al Janadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival Mar 2013 (annual) Riyadh The annual Janadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival fills Riydah with two weeks of activities celebrating traditional Saudi culture. Saudi citizens from all over the country come to enjoy

    However it does not that dates can change and does not give the specific dates in March.

    Read more:

    On Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 3:46 PM, American Bedu

  12. JohnJohn,
    Sounds like you drank the Vimto 😉 I’m glad you had a good time, and that phrase you learned is usually the 3rd phrase that is said after a person sneezes. The first is when a person sneezes they say, “Alhamduliah” then if a person is nearby, that person says “Rahamkullah”. Then the person who originally sneezed, says that phrase “Ya hadina….” However, I could never remember that phrase, and would say, ” Ya hadina medina allah.” 🙂

  13. Kristine…what is this thing you call “Vimto???” It sounds like something that could get me arrested!!!! The only thing I drank was my first taste of ZamZam water…twas a miracle! Yes, since that posting last year, I have learned that the phrase is a series. It is one of the few phrases that I know. Every time I hear a friend sneeze, I wait for them to say, “Alhamdullilah,’ so I can rush in with my “Yarhamkumillah,” but they rarely say it! As for drinking, I have graduated to goat milk laban and warm goat milk (with cinnamon and who knows what else) before bedtime. As for the Janadriyah dates, I don’t trust Frommers or anything else like them. Currently, unless you are a local or an expat (or, a very unusual tourist with friends who help you with a visa, like myself), their is no tourism in Saudi. As such, I don’t believe these companies who make money from guidebooks and web advertisements. ABedu is correct…the dates always seem to change. “It is too hot today…we will start the festival tomorrow.” “It is too cold…I have a headache…” The best answer is the usual Saudi answer…”INSHALLAH…the festival will be between this date and this date.” Inshallah!

  14. JohnJohn,
    Vimto is kind of like kool-aid. It is (I think) blackberry syrup that you mix with water and sugar. It is usually drunk during Ramadan.

  15. What I have had reminded me more of raspberry and always a deep red in color. It is soooo sweet! I liked to mix mine with club soda!

    On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 2:53 PM, American Bedu

  16. Once I put it in the blender with ice and made a Vimto slushie. That was good.

  17. That’s a great suggestion.

    On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 4:14 PM, American Bedu

  18. Ladies,

    Shukran…I am enjoying the education you are giving me. As I am not yet Muslim (although, reading the Quran an investigating a change), and not currently in Saudi…I am enjoying a glass of “raspberry, blackberry,” GRAPE-colored “French Kool-Aid!”

  19. […] the blogger American Bedu wrote last year, “The Janadriyah festival is one of the best means for anyone – whether an […]

  20. […] Janadriya Festival is a name associated with Saudi heritage and culture and has become part and parcel of Saudi cultural life. It strives to highlight all inherited important cultural and historical events of Saudi Arabia. Janadriya Festival also features Saudi religious and social values via carnivals in which all cultural Saudis take part. The Festival depicts the sacrifices of Saudi ancestors in unifying Saudi Arabia. The Festival endeavors to introduce all these lofty inherited values to the young Saudi people so that they are familiar with such glorious sacrifices of ancestors.
Janadriya Festival
has become known worldwide. A great many of cultured people, representing all walk of life, from all over the world, are invited to get acquainted with the religious, cultural and social life in Saudi Arabia
 and sharing their culture. […]

  21. OMG i love these feedbacks! I am doing a paper for my English class in college about Janadriyah, and this really helped me!

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