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Ardha, a Story of Heritage and Culture

When we say Ardha, we say a load of cultures and meanings compacted in one traditional performance. The following lines will reveal more about this performance, beginning with what is it and passing by the occasions to perform it.

What Is It?

In simple words, Ardha is a traditional performance for the people in the Arabian peninsula. It has different details in different regions. For example, people from the southern peninsula have various features of Ardha compared to people from the center of Najd. However, there are general features of all kinds of Ardha. It is formed by a group of men who dances on the rhythm of drums and poetries. The men usually align in two queues holding sword s or weapons, and a man in the middle repeats two or three verses of poetry. They swing and step in an organized pattern to follow the rhythm of the drum. Usually, people perform Ardha on special occasions and events, but most importantly, Ardha is a traditional folk that reflects positive vibes.

History of Ardha

This performance was not created recently by Arab people, whereas it came as a cumulative evolution of early people who lived in the peninsula area like Himyar, Thamud, Nabateans, and etcetera. Many ancient fossils that have been discovered that reflect the root of Ardha performance.

Starting by its name, the old Arabic dictionaries shows that Ardha is an Arabic word that is derived from “Ardh” which means “to show,” and it also possible to have other meaning, which is an army force that is formed by a group of strong men. In the past, this performance was linked to wartime. It was a practice to keep the men of the tribe fit and ready for any emergency. Also, it was performed during wars to encourage the tribe and keep them close together with a high feeling spirit before facing the enemy.

The past people have divided Ardha into three main categories: Ardha Al-Jaish, Ardha Hadwa, and General Ardha. The first “Al-Jaish” includes camels in the performance where men ride camels and rais their swards. The second “Hadwa” includes horses in the show where men ride horses to show off their knee performance. Lastly, the general one which is the standard performance in today’s world.

Eventually, the heritage of Ardha remains the same regarding its value. Only some modern details have been adopted in the latest stages. People change with time, and they evolve and develop during that.

an old picture of Past King AbdulAziz Al-Saud while he is perfoming Ardha

Occasions and Events

Ardha is a performance that is practiced during occasions and events. In the past, it reflected victory and bravery during wartime. However, today it means happiness and joy. The most common occasions to practice Ardha is during Eid times, at weddings, and with honorable guests like royal family members.

Commonly, Ardha is linked to positive vibes. It expresses how the tribe members are interacting with their joy, bravery, generosity, pride, and honor. It is a translated practice for many deep meanings; it is a form of celebration.

King Salman Al-Saud is performing Ardha with other royal family members

Who Participates in Ardha

Ardha is a masculine group performance that must be done by at least twenty-two men. Ten people in each queue where both queues are facing each other, a poet, and a drummer. However, more people can join in celebrating. Often, the members of the tribe with high status are the priority to participate. Besides, the guest members are highly recommended to participate if any.

Participating in such a performance is considered to be honoring. So, usually, most of the people who are attending the event or occasion would like to join, but it needs to have much training to hold the sword, perfect the steps, and understand how to swing with the rhythm.

the drummers’ team

Illustration Video About Ardha