Our Late Father Sheikh Zayed And The Heritage
By: Maha Alrais
Edited by: Dhabia Khalfan Harib
Al-Hosn Palace in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is a place where a well-loved and respected ruler was born. Since his rule, people have known him for his generosity, kindness and humanity.
His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan was a ruler of the United Arab Emirates, his story began when he was born in 1918 in the Bedouin environment. He grew up in the depth of the heritage and completed his studies from the heritage school. He was taught the values, customs, and knowledge of the Badia.
“The new generation should be aware of the suffering of his ancestors. This awareness will provide them with drive, firmness, and solidity in order to complete the epic of construction and development initiated by our fathers and ancestors. This odyssey of accomplishments and contributions is an embodiment of our national ambitions after decades of disarray, backwardness, and deprivation.” His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan said.
The connection between Sheikh Zayed and the heritage was obvious because of his full commitment to the customs and traditions of his society. When he ruled the UAE, he established museums to document and keep the heritage in order to effect and influence the future generation in different fields in their life such as education, social life, and sports.
Sheikh Zayed was also a lover of traditional sports and folk performing arts. His Highness loved practicing sports such as falconry and horse riding most of the time, and he did not care about summer heat, tiredness, or exhaustion.When Sheikh Zayed was only 10 years old, he used to go on hunting trips with his father and with his elders, to learn from their experiences in hunting. He was not much stronger to carry the gun because of his younger age, so he relied on other things. When he reached the age of 16, he learned to hunt falconry and he started to hunt with both the gun and the falcon. Another time, when he was 25 years old, he learned the basics of hunting and he stopped hunting animals.
The folks performing arts were also close to His Highness, the dances like Al-Razeef and Al-Ayala were performed at family, national, and religious occasions. Therefore, His Highness wanted these sports and arts to be continued and practiced by the future generations. So, he started to encourage them by offering financial prizes for the winners, as well as, by his presence in the important competitions to support the competitors morally and formally.
Our father and ruler, Sheikh Zayed, died in 2004, leaving behind people who are loyal to the UAE customs, traditions and its heritage despite development and prosperity.
“Falconry was a favorite hobby of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan, and it is one of the most famous sports that is practiced by many kings and princes in the Gulf ” (Festival of Falconry).