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Janadriyah National Festival 2023: A Cultural Extravaganza Near Riyadh


An annual celebration of Arabian culture and heritage, Janadriyah National Festival showcases vibrant events and exhibitions. The festival provides a peek into the traditional dance performances, Saudi military prowess, thoughtful poetry nights, impressive fireworks displays, and more. In addition, the festival invites representatives of other friendly countries to make the experience all the more diverse. Thousands of tourists and locals visit Janadriyah to enjoy the incredible cultural display of Saudi Arabia. At the festival, the aroma of Saudi street food gets mixed with the colorful environment, which offers an enchanting ambiance. The festival is ideal for family outings with kids and participating in various activities together.

Janadriyah National Festival Importance

King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz first organized al Janadriyah Festival to celebrate Saudi culture and heritage. Over the years, it has emerged as a massive creative project reflecting Saudi leadership’s care for the country’s history and its keenness to promote the Islamic civilization. The festival captures the Saudi people’s tales of heroism and the country’s storied history since King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud unified Saudi Arabia. It also sheds light on the region’s folk art and traditions. Additionally, the festival provides a charismatic setting for discussing many important international, social, and cultural issues.

Celebration month: Janadriyah National Festival is normally organized in the months of February and March. Generally, the festival opening timings are 9 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to midnight.

Venue: Janadriyah is only 25 km away from Riyadh city center (tourists staying in Riyadh during the festival time period can easily reach the location via cab or public transport to enjoy the activities.

Suggested Read: Top 11 Things To Do In Riyadh: From Quad Biking To A Family Day At Zoo

Top attractions at Janadriyah National Festival

Since it was first held, the festival has offered a wide range of activities and programs. Visitors can explore the vibrant heritage of the country’s small villages and huge provinces. It is a massive display of culture and history with many tourist attractions. So, here are the top Janadriyah National Festival activities and attractions visitors can enjoy.

1. Camel racing – A thrilling atttraction


Serving as the flagship event in the festival, the camel race is one of the most exciting activities watched by thousands of enthusiastic spectators. Conducted every year, the race takes place over a 12-mile-long track and witnesses the participation of over 2,000 camels. The winner gets the King’s Cup and the grand prize that comes with it. While betting is not allowed as gambling is illegal under Sharia law, there is still a lot of excitement and enthusiasm amongst the crowd during this sports event.

2. Traditional dance – It’s breathtaking choreography


Traditional dance performances is a significant highlight at the Al Janadriyah Festival, especially the Ardah. Historically performed by the Nejd tribe, Ardah is a traditional group dance famous in Saudi Arabia and nearby countries. This dance is typically performed by men standing in two opposite rows and wielding swords and canes, featuring breathtaking war choreography. The awe-inspiring performances are often accompanied by spoken poetry and drums. Owing to which, visitors to Janadriyah National Festival immensely enjoy these remarkable performances by the local dancers.

Though Ardah is the main dance style, the festival also showcases dance forms of several other countries participating in the festival.

3. Poetry nights – Soul-stirring performances

Poetry reading is considered one of the most important arts and plays a massive role in the the festival. Authorities organize poetry nights wherein many local poets and singers give soul-stirring performances. These artists express poetry through the melodies and dance performances that represent different regions of the kingdom. Consequently, thousands of people who harbor a love for poetry and music attend these performances.

4. Art and crafts display – Exceptional  local craftsmanship


Janadriyah National Festival serves as a haven for art and craft lovers. Each of the country’s provinces has its pavilion in the festival. The pavilions have meticulous designs to reflect the intricacies of local architecture. Visitors can stroll through different pavilions and check out the local art and craft items. Each of the pavilions has representatives that can walk visitors through their region’s history and tell them about the local art and crafts. In addition, visitors can meet the artisans themselves and learn more about their work and skillset.

5. Military pavilion and army display – Hosted by the military


Every year, the Janadriyah National Festival has a pavilion on display, hosted by the Saudi military. At this pavilion, various exhibitions are organized during the course of the festival. The forces display the latest equipment and technologies being used in these exhibitions. The military participates in the Janadriyah National Festival to involve all parts of the community in everyday life of the forces’ members.

6. Kids activities – Memories with kids

While the the festival primarily focuses on showcasing the Saudi culture, history, and heritage in all its glory, it is not all about government showcases and local color. Like all festivals, it features several elements of fun making it an excellent place to visit with family and kids. From delicious snacks to cute lighted toys, there is so much here to capture a kids’ attention. It is advisable to take the kids along to the festival where they can run around freely and have fun. Beautiful flower hair bands, camel riding, donkey carriage rides, and traditional children’s games are the best Janadriyah National Festival activities for kids to enjoy.

Facilities for kids: Kids centers are available

7. Souvenir shops – Memorabilia for family & friends


The festival offers many quaint and glittering souvenir shops. Whether it is exquisite local arts and crafts, quirky cowboy hats, or just simple toys, there are many must-buy souvenirs for everyone from adults to kids. Souvenir shopping is one of the most popular Janadriyah National Festival activities amongst locals and tourists alike.

Best souvenirs to buy: Arabic coffee pots, colorful handmade baskets, teacup sets, lovely Oudh perfumes, fresh organic herbs and tea, and various Saudi spices.

Suggested Read: Things To Buy In Saudi Arabia: Memorable Saudi Souvenirs For Tourists

8. Local food – Original Saudi dishes

When it comes to food, this festival offers a wide range of gourmet specialties and local delicacies of the country. One can find numerous food stalls serving everything from samboussas (fried pastries with delicious fillings) and yaghmuchs (small meat fritters) to mutabaqs (cakes stuffed with delectable fillings) and manto (a kind of dimsum seasoned with cumin). For desserts visitors can try masoub (a honey and banana pudding), ghraybehs (almond shortbread), maamouls (biscuits filled with dates), and kleeja (bread flavored with date syrup).

Top picks: Samboussas, Mutabaqs, and maamouls

Things to keep in mind


There are certain things that visitors should keep in mind while attending Al Janadriyah Festival including:

  • Make sure to arrange transportation to and from the festival beforehand as it can be challenging to find one during busy hours.
  • The festival remains open from 9 am to noon and from 4 pm to midnight. Keep the timings in mind while planning the trip.
  • Check out the upcoming dates and tours beforehand.
  • Men and women can visit the festival together on “family days” but only when they go as a family.
  • Unmarried men cannot visit the festival during “family days”.
  • Foreign women can visit the festival alone. However, it is advisable to visit in groups.

Janadriyah National Festival 2023 will provide vibrant and exciting event offering many enjoyable activities and incredible attractions. Overall, the annual festival provides tourists with an opportunity to delve into Saudi’s rich culture, history, and heritage for a memorable experience. As a result, it gives locals a chance to rediscover their roots and have a great time.

Janadriyah National Festival FAQs

Is there any international participation in the Janadriyah National Festival?

Yes, every year, the festival usually has a pavilion hosted by a foreign government to focus on its relations with the Saudi kingdom and any investments made there. Also, there have been various international guests of honor every year, including the French Republic, Egypt, Germany, the UAE, India, and Indonesia.

Who hosts the pavilions at the Janadriyah National Festival?

Each province of the country is represented with its pavilion. Also, various Saudi government agencies host numerous pavilions, including the military. In addition, different foreign government host a pavilion every year.

What are the subjects discussed in seminars conducted during the festival?

During the festival, the authorities organize a series of seminars featuring guest speakers from around the world who discuss a wide range of cultural, social, political, and literary subjects.

When is the Janadriyah National Festival celebrated?

February and March is the time when the Saudi government organizes the Janadriyah National Festival.

Can unmarried men visit the festival?

Yes, they can visit the festival but not on family days.

Pratyush Srivastava

I think, every human is a beautifully concealed epoch in the making with God to unravel it at the perfect time. Hence, synergizing with distinctive individuals in search of an interesting story is my favorite work as a writer and creator.

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