‘Dasha’ ceremony marks 29th pearl diving trip
200 Kuwaiti youngsters take part in annual tradition
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.
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.
KUWAIT: Archive photos showing youths participating in pearl diving trips in past years. —KUNA