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Makkah: Saudi Arabia has a rich tapestry of folk art, each with its own unique characteristics but with the same purpose: to express the history, culture and heroism of the kingdom.

Over time, these artistic traditions have become an integral part of various events and holidays. They mainly take the form of ardas. It is originally a mass war dance intended to intimidate the enemy by displaying the performers’ valor and power and courage rooted in the past.

Among the many types of Arda, the most popular style in Saudi Arabia is Najdi Arda, also known as Saudi Arda.

The most popular Arda style in the kingdom is Najdi Arda. (Included)

Saleh Nasser al-Abdelwahed, leader of the Saudi al-Da Group, told Arab News that Najdi al-Da is “a testament to Saudi history.”

Najdi Arda begins with the recitation of a poem, after which the drummer begins to play, establishing a rhythm for the dancers to follow. The leader of the group then takes to the stage, brandishing his blade and demonstrating well-rehearsed movements similar to those of warriors in combat. He wields the sword skillfully, sometimes resting it on his shoulder, sometimes holding it high, sometimes holding it at his side. He also uses precise finger movements to move the blade in a circular motion, demonstrating his expertise.

Dancers usually wear the finest military uniforms.


Najdi Arda begins with the recitation of a poem, after which the drummer begins to play, establishing a rhythm for the dancers to follow.

“The performers of Arda wear long-sleeved al-Mulouden military uniforms. They wear it as an elaborate wooden cashmere fabric adorned with a meticulously handcrafted cashmere shawl, similar to the ‘Daghra’ gown. We complement it with Al Zabun,” Al Abdulwahed explained. “Additionally, performers may choose al-saya, a tailored white summer fabric, or joka, which is usually reserved for dignitaries such as kings, princes, and knights.”

He noted that warriors typically choose to wear red clothing, but the hue ranges from bright blood-like tones to muted burgundy.

Performers are usually heavily armed, wearing daggers, gun holsters, bullet holders known as mujannads, and swords. When donning the uniform, participants place the pistol holster on the left side and the mujannad on the right side. Different types of swords are used, each with its own sheath.

Najdi al-da is a cultural touchstone for many Saudis and is still widely practiced in central Saudi Arabia and throughout the country. It is often displayed at weddings. Participating in such rituals creates a feeling of joy and joy, which attracts both older and younger generations.

Folk performing arts from other regions

The Hijaz region is one of the most diverse regions in the kingdom in terms of folk art. Famous for his Majestic art form, it features his two opposing rows of performers wearing tied and belted headbands. Each person holds a duff and contributes to the performance with a special tune or melody.

Yambawi talab is a form of collective musical expression characterized by the use of a stringed instrument called simsimiya, which is closely associated with maritime cultures.

In Taif, Arda al Jil takes center stage during special occasions and holidays. This dance involves the use of swords, guns, and daggers and is an important element of cultural celebrations.

In the northern region, the traditional arts of al-Samari and al-Daha come to life with two rows of opposing performers creating harmonious rhythms and playing melodies such as al-Mashob, al-Zubai and al-Hajini.

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