‘Shannah’: Saudi Ancient Way to Preserve Dates

In AlUla and across the Arabian Peninsula, the traditional practice of ‘shannah’ for storing and preserving dates reflects a deep-rooted dedication to safeguarding cultural and culinary traditions, reported Arab News.

‘Shannah’ highlights the resourcefulness of ancient times and continues to significantly contribute to the region’s economic and agricultural framework.

Steps of Shannah Process

This method involves using sheep or goat hides as a vital component for preserving dates in AlUla. After being cleaned and dried, the dates are packed into these animal skins which are then stitched shut with palm leaves.

People leave the ‘shannah’ in the sunlight for a duration that can vary from a few months up to five years, ensuring the dates remain of superior quality over time.

AlUla Dates Festival Showcases Ancient Practices

The annual AlUla Dates Festival showcases the ‘shannah’ technique, offering attendees a direct insight into this distinctive preservation method. As part of the Saudi Vision 2030 initiative, the Royal Commission for AlUla is enhancing tourism and promoting the revival of traditional practices like ‘shannah’.

‘shannah’ and Food Security

Abdulhadi Suqeer, a Saudi expert on date cultivation and preservation, shared with Arab News that ‘shannah’ played a pivotal role in food security for AlUla’s inhabitants. He further stated that the Royal Commission for AlUla is actively working to rejuvenate this historical practice. Moreover, it works on acquainting the newer generations with the timeless method of date preservation.

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