Kuwait may be diminutive in population and area but the pocket Gulf state knows how to throw a memorable party. One has only look back at recent history, on November 10, 2012, to be precise. On that day, the day of Kuwait’s Golden Jubilee, the government spent a considerable sum of KD 4.06-million (USD 15 million) on a fireworks display that made the Guinness Book of World Records.
With this still firmly in mind, people have high expectations when they visit Kuwait in late February (February 25 and 26) for National Day and Liberation Day, respectively.
Hala February Festival is an annual festival that takes place, naturally, in the month of February in Kuwait. The festival is put on by and in the capital of Kuwait City. Events duly hinge on the two all-important and symbolic commemorative events at the conclusion of the month.
And February is a good month for a party in Kuwait. The country’s intense arid climate can be fiercely oppressive later in the year but in February the temperatures generally waver on the cooler side of the mercury.
The capital, home to a shade under 2.5 million people, takes full advantage with a cavalcade of attractions, carnivals, parades and other pursuits throughout the city (and country too). The list of inherent events is long, from special markets to musical concerts, cultural seminars to poetry recitals. Daily raffles are held to encourage the public’s participation and multiple prizes are given out for the duration of Hala. Moreover, Kuwait’s many fine social, athletic and sports clubs get in on the act too. In short, February is a magnificent time to be in the country to soak up what amounts to a vibrant scene and, indeed, a singular expression of Kuwaiti pride and patriotism.
The ‘Mother of Festivals’ in Kuwait usually begins on Salem Al-Mubarak Street in Salmiya. There, a parade ushers in the month-long annual commemoration of the liberation of the country. The two kilometre span of road typically welcomes a deluge revelers for events that kick off at about 3:00 p.m. The parade showcases every facet of Kuwaiti culture and is extremely colourful and festive, as one expects with a national bash of this magnitude.
In a nod, however, to other cultures that play a vital role in modern Kuwait, the 2013 inaugural parade was also host to displays by Indian, Filipino, Syrian and Yemeni dance troupes and musical acts. Handicrafts from many other parts of the world get their chances to shine as well, in the many impromptu mini marketplaces that pop up for Hala. The most recent Hala February Festival was such a success, in fact, that one Kuwaiti observer was quick to compare it to the Rio Carnival.
Tourists who flock to Kuwait in February for the occasion, and, indeed, business travellers who visit the capital by sheer coincidence, tend to enjoy exceptional service, hospitality and discounts for the length of Hala. The national festival has, over time, proven to be a boon for the tourism sector and economy.
At world class accommodation in Kuwait like the Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel and Spa, the Hala experience is especially deluxe. The unusually beautiful beach hotel is a sublime oasis away from the Hala hustle and bustle, with a first-rate amenity list that includes the Talise spa, a state-of-the-art open-air pool, kids’ club and access to Messilah beach. The spa hotel is also home to multiple restaurants and lounges and thus the place to be for international or local cuisine - the ideal way to celebrate Hala in style.
About the author:
Peter has recentled settled down in Kuwait after traveling all around the world. He has taken up a job that will allow him to write on his favourite topics and locations.