The ‘Agriculture Environment’ section showcases a range of handmade products crafted from various parts of the date palm
If roosters crowing in the distance and the bellowing of a bull are sounds you would not expect to hear in a desert environment, think again.
In the Heart of Sharjah, where the 18th edition of the Sharjah Heritage Days (SHD) is currently underway, these farm animals are part of the ‘Agriculture Environment’ that showcases the agrarian life of Emiratis, in the past.
The harsh desert environment did not deter the people of this land in laying down roots and adapting to a more settled life, primarily around oases where water sources and irrigation allowed for farming of dates and vegetables. To circumvent the challenges, they devised innovative solutions such as the al falaj to gain access to underground water resources.
While palm tree cultivation flourished, its fruit, the date, was a vital source of nourishment. The inextricable bond between humans and date palms are on full display at the 2021 edition of SHD.
Every part of this essential tree, revered within Arab and Islamic cultures, was put to good use. Apart from trade in dates, the palm tree also spawned a demand for handmade products crafted from its leaves, sheath, and other parts.
At the ‘Agriculture Environment’, women are engaged in the Emirati craft of palm frond weaving or ‘Safeefah’. Products crafted include baskets of varying sizes, food covers, rugs, and mats.
Men, on the other hand, are weaving stronger and larger bags to pack ripe dates while also fashioning ropes and cords from the coarse sheath.
On display here are several agricultural implements used in the earlier times, including a variety of axes used for splitting wood, digging pits, and cutting fronds.
If you are lucky, you can spot a farmer making his way up the trunk of the date palm with just the Al Habool, a broad climbing belt, for support.