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Al Razfa

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Al-Razfa, a popular performance art practised in the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman, is truly an important addition to the intangible cultural heritage

Al-Razfa, a popular performance art practised in the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman, is truly an important addition to the intangible cultural heritage, as it is performed on a large scale in both countries. This delightful art gives performers a sense of identity and communication through their performance, songs and rhythms that have been maintained in their cultural and heritage for many years, passed down through generations of different ages at social events, occasions and national festivities.

Though this unique art emerged among the Bedouin communities and groups in the desert areas of the Al Dhafra Region of Abu Dhabi, it has spread far and wide throughout the UAE, including major cities and districts, and in the coastal areas of Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah, in addition to the mountainous areas around Al-Fujairah and the oases in the city of Al Ain.

Al-Razfa is practised by many parts of society, which may be one of the reasons behind its longevity and prominence, as it has been transmitted directly from one generation to another through participation and learning. In fact, parents are keen to encourage their children to practise and perform. They can be observed on different occasions assigning to their children specific roles suitable for their age.Hence, children learn this heritage art through stimulation and gradual practice, as well as by watching the groups that perform Al-Razfa at social events such as weddings, festivals and anniversaries, not to mention the fact that it is a public performance based on mass participation.

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