The Young Falconer - a short story by the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre

10.06.20 10:17 AM By Voices of Future Generations

Every weekend, Hamad indulges in cultural activities with his father, particularly during winter. A peak season for heritage activities in the UAE. Hamad’s passion is to sit in the front car seat, gazing out of the window while his father drives to Al Ruwwayyah in Dubai. It is a journey best taken at dawn. For, competitions take an early start!  Golden rays, reflected on the fine particles of sand, the crisp winds and mesmerizing morning breeze trigger sweet memories in Hamad’s mind. Now, he is 12 years of age. He has been accompanying his father to the falcon races for as long as he can remember.  The clear sky, the sand dunes and the sweet flow of memories come to a sudden end when the bumpy dirt road begins! It is time for Hamad to hold on tight onto his one and only beloved falcon!

A long ride before the white tent dedicated to falconry appears. Only then, Hamad’s heart begins to throb hard. Having trained the falcon for the race for days, Hamad longs to win the title of the Juniors’ category in the Fazza Championship for Falconry.

Murmuring in his falcon’s ear “please don’t let me down”, Hamad removes the “burga’a” (the head cover) and releases his falcon for the 400-meter race.

The joy of getting his falcon again at the end of the race is more rewarding than winning the competition, Hamad thought.

The next destination for Hamad and his father is the “Izba” (the camel farm). Hamad’s father has many camels. Some are dedicated for the traditional camel races and few for milking. Camel milk is extremely nutritious. This he has learned from his grandfather!

Now a ‘superhero’ after drinking the fresh camel milk, Hamad hops onto his camel for a very long ride. He feels proud to clinch onto his culture and heritage, on the footsteps of his forefathers. Culture and heritage are key to the person’s national identity.

For this purpose, The Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre was established with the mission of reviving UAE’s cultural heritage in different ways. This includes the preservation of falcons, camels, Saluki dogs, shooting with the traditional rifle (Saktoun), freediving, desert camps, Youlah, celebrations, national attire and traditional cuisines, and much more.