Souk Okaz, an attempt to recapitulate the annual cultural mixtures that enriched early Saudi society, has started. Poetry competitions and recitations, always a mainstay of the Souk, are being supplemented with newer art forms like theater and photography.
Souk Okaz fair: Culture at its best
MUHAMMAD HUMAIDAN | ARAB NEWS
JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal opened the fourth annual Souk Okaz fair on Tuesday night on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
The five-day event is a replica of the pre-Islamic fair that used to take place in Al-Arfa area of Taif. The event, before Islam, used to be frequented by poets who would gather to recite Arabic poetry. The best of these poems would then be hung on the wall of the Kaaba and included seven famous ones known as the “Saba’a Muallaqat,” which are still taught to students of Arabic literature.
… Prince Khaled and his accompanying delegation toured the Souk following the opening. The market includes sections in which handmade products are on display, traditional dishes are being served and Arabic prose and poetry recited. The market also includes a theater, camels and horses, folk dances, an antiques exhibition, tents, and rock canvases containing verses from famous poems.
Coverage from Saudi Gazette is similar: