Muscat: Oman is hosting the annual Camel Beauty Contest at Al Faleij in the Wilayat of Barka.
The contest started on January 20 and will continue until Januray 25. Scores of camel owners from different wilayats across the Sultanate gather every year to participate in the prestigious competition organised by the Royal Court Affairs.
“Camel beauty contests came into existence to preserve the (pure) breeds of our ancestors,” said Mohammed bin Hamed Al Qutaiti, owner of a camel beauty contestant, Queen, who has been participating in the contest since it started in Qatar in 2000.
The camels are judged on the basis of a few key features.
“They look at the beauty of the head, from its cheeks, to its ears, to its lips. The head must be beautiful. Secondly, they look at the neck.
“It has to be long. Then there’s ‘Al Ghareb’ (the area between the neck and hump), which has to be long and strong. The hump has to be close to the back. They also take note of the colour and hygiene,” he explained.
“Unlike camel beauty competitions in Pakistan and other parts of the world, here in the Gulf, it’s all about raw beauty and pure breed. The camels participating are from a pure Omani breed, and must be without any crossbreeding. A cross-bred camel is easily spotted,” Mohammed noted.
Oman is known for preserving these camel breeds, which is why the culture is encouraged and strict.”
“The owners go through intense preparations for the competition months in advance to make sure the camels are fit. Preparations for the beauty contest are done in several stages, starting with giving the camels healthy food.
“Then, you concentrate on its overall physique and muscles to give it a nice shape. Then, we beautify the camel with a haircut on the sides and on the hump. These details are the main focus,” he pointed out.
“The tail hair has to be nice. The camel must be clean at all times. Continuous washing, medicines, and vitamins are required.”
Mohammed expressed his gratitude to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for supporting this initiative, which helps in preserving the Sultanate of Oman’s traditions and a camel culture that has been prevalent in the country for centuries.