‘Dasha’ cer­e­mony marks 29th pearl div­ing trip

200 Kuwaiti young­sters take part in an­nual tra­di­tion

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

Un­der the pa­tron­age of His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the 29th Pearl Div­ing Trip will start to­day with the tra­di­tional cer­e­mony of ‘Dasha,’ Ara­bic for ‘start,’ which rep­re­sents the be­gin­ning of the jour­ney and bid­ding farewell to fam­ily mem­bers. At least 200 Kuwaiti young­sters, aged be­tween 14 to 20, are tak­ing part in the event, billed this year as ‘One Gulf ... One Fate,’ who will be us­ing 13 wooden ships, in­clud­ing four do­nated by His High­ness the Amir and nine pre­vi­ously do­nated by the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ah­mad Al-Sabah.

This an­nual tra­di­tion, or­ga­nized by Kuwait Sea Sports Club, is con­sid­ered a mile­stone for re­viv­ing the Kuwaiti sea her­itage and cul­ture on the na­tional, re­gional, and in­ter­na­tional are­nas, and it had gained a wide pop­u­lar­ity and in­ter­est on the public, of­fi­cial, and me­dia lev­els.

It also rep­re­sents an op­por­tu­nity to re­mind Kuwaiti young­sters of the his­toric sac­ri­fices made by their fa­thers and grand­fa­thers, who jour­neyed and dived into re­gional seas and oceans, risk­ing their lives to pro­vide good, pros­per­ous life and wel­fare for their fam­i­lies and coun­try.

Rig­or­ous busi­ness

In the past, Kuwaitis took up pearl div­ing, a hard and rig­or­ous oc­cu­pa­tion and busi­ness at that time, to make a good liv­ing. They sailed across un­known sea­wa­ters in the Gulf and other nearby re­gions hunt­ing for pearl, not know­ing the type of risks and dan­gers fac­ing them. Their voy­ages would last for at least four months, dur­ing which divers search for oys­ters, and, even­tu­ally, re­cover pearls from the oys­ters they col­lect. The most de­sired tar­gets were the big pearl such as ‘Dana,’‘Hasba,’ and ‘Jawhara,’ in ad­di­tion to the small and, some­times, medium-sized ‘Qu­masha’ due to their rar­ity and high com­mer­cial value.

De­spite its dif­fi­culty and dan­gers, pearl div­ing has con­trib­uted, in a way, in boost­ing de­ter­mi­na­tion and pa­tience in­side the Kuwaiti sailors, and em­pow­ered them to outdo the job it­self to make good and re­spect­ful liv­ing, and face all life chal­lenges and needs.

It also strength­ened the sen­ti­ments of brother­hood and co­op­er­a­tion among fel­low sailors, and al­le­vi­ated the feel­ings of re­spect, obe­di­ence, and loy­alty to­wards their leader, the ship’s skip­per. Kuwait’s re­vival of such a his­toric and cul­tural tra­di­tion aims at bol­ster­ing those sen­ti­ments, skills, and spir­its gained and fos­tered by yes­ter­day’s fa­thers and grand­fa­thers in­side to­day’s young­sters, es­pe­cially love of their coun­try and loy­alty to­wards their lead­er­ship. The Kuwait Sea Sports Club has or­ga­nized the first tra­di­tional pearl div­ing trip in 1986, start­ing with five ves­sels pro­vided by the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion. In 1987, the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ah­mad Al-Sabah, who strongly sup­ported the event and en­cour­aged more Kuwaiti youth to par­tic­i­pate in it, do­nated seven new ves­sels to the Club that were made in Kuwait for the sec­ond an­nual jour­ney. In 1990, all of the Club’s sea ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing the pearl div­ing trips, were halted due to the Iraqi in­va­sion of Kuwait in Au­gust, dur­ing which the Iraqi sol­diers de­stroyed a num­ber of wooden ves­sels.

In 1991, the Club re­sumed its ac­tiv­i­ties af­ter the lib­er­a­tion of the coun­try and or­ga­nized the fifth pearl div­ing trip on board of a ship do­nated by one of Kuwait’s old prom­i­nent sailors, Cap­tain Ra­jab Ali. In 1994, the late Amir Shekh Jaber Al-Ah­mad Al-Sabah do­nated six new ves­sels to the Club and con­tin­ued to sup­port the pearl div­ing trips and events in the fol­low­ing years.

First trip

KUWAIT: Archive pho­tos show­ing youths par­tic­i­pat­ing in pearl div­ing trips in past years. —KUNA

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