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Culture / Heritage

Cultural Heritage of UAE – Al-Ayyala

Cultural Heritage of UAE – Al-Ayyala

Al-Ayyala is a traditional Dance form of UAE. The Dance is performed by men and boys holding thin bamboo canes and moving in unison to the steady rhythm of the drum.

Al-Ayyala is performed during weddings, national holidays and other important celebrations. It exemplifies the ethos and gallantry of Bedouin life while reinforces the values of dignity and honour.

The Dance form has become a symbol of national identity and union. It reflects the heritage values of Emirati Culture.


20 or more Performers form two rows facing each other with thin bamboo canes representing arrows or sowrds in a battle scene. The men in each row stand shoulder to shoulder with their left hand on the back of the person on to their left.

The performers make alternating movements with their heads, shoulders, arms and canes. This action suggests victory or defeat. They chant lines of verse, often from Nabati Poetry. Nabati Poetry has been a feature of life in the Arabian Peninsula since 16th century, recording the historical events.

Read more about Al-Ayyala here

Picture used for illustration only – Credit: Abu Dhabi Culture
Video used for illustration only – Credit: Dullahbank/YouTube

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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