Hala February Festival, the much awaited mother of festivals in Kuwait was ushered in Friday afternoon on Salem Al-Mubarak Street in Salmiya. It is a month long annual commemoration of the liberation of Kuwait and runs from February 1st to 28th. It is a magical mix of cultural events, entertainment and superb shopping discount extravaganzas. It portrays an atmosphere of Kuwaiti warmth and hospitality. This spring time elegant Kuwaiti festival apart from attracting people from all walks of life in Kuwait is also a magnet for tourists as well as Diaspora Kuwaitis from all over the globe. Tourists visiting Kuwait to observe the festival are offered huge discounts on airfares, accommodation as well as purchases in shops.
The Salem Al-Mubarak Street, a two kilometer stretch of road was a sea of revelers as the festivities got underway at about 3 pm. All aspects of Kuwaiti life were showcased on various stands. Pure ecstasy was on display as one could see the young and old all dancing to the street music.
Ahmed Essa who was manning a Kuwaiti flag stand said the festival is one special event whose arrival he always anticipates every year. He said it is a festival that makes him feel proud to be Kuwaiti.
Various stands of Kuwaiti civil and public services were also on hand to showcase their functions and capabilities. The Interior Ministry had a number of stands for the Coast Guards and the various Police Training Institutions to demonstrate to the public their capabilities as well as ways to get enlisted into those training institutions. There were also stands for educational programs on the awareness of heart diseases, drug overdose and fire safety. What obviously made the scene livelier was the live music performed by various groups.
There were Kuwaiti, Syrian, Yemeni, Filipino and Indian musical and dance groups whose performances kept the crowd on their feet the entire time. Various cultural stands for the Gulf and Asian countries showcasing national cultural artifacts and traditional wares were also present.
Mohammad Hanif, a reveler and a Kuwaiti student said this year’s festival has special significance because it coincides with the twentieth anniversary of Kuwait’s liberation. “This dazzling festival is something we can compare to the South American Carnivals”, Hanif said.