Every year on February 25 and 26, Kuwait celebrates its National Day and Liberation Day, marking the country’s independence after the First Gulf War. National day is actually on June 19th, however it is celebrated on the 25th as it marks the day the Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah came to power.
As locals celebrate with pride on these official holidays, expats should also take the chance to embrace the local culture.
Here are some ideas to help you immerse yourself in the Kuwaiti culture.
- Try authentic Kuwaiti food
Kuwaiti cuisine is an important part of Kuwait’s culture. The food is succulent and full of flavour. Some popular dishes include Machboos (Mutton, chicken or fish over fragrant rice) and Maglooba (Rice with meat, potatoes and eggplant).
Seafood is a significant part of their diet. Popular fish include Hamour and Zobaidi. If you’re looking for a restaurant that serves authentic food, try out Khaneen.
- Visit a museum
One of the best ways to get to know a country’s history and culture is through museums and there’s no shortage of them in Kuwait. From art and archaeology to audio-visual displays of the oil industry, you’ll definitely find something to interest you.
- Attend a festival
In celebration of National and Liberation days, the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) is holding their third Nawarat Al-Ahmadi Festival. It’s a public event that’s family friendly.
You can expect competitions, raffle draws, face painting, cartoon characters, magic shows, exhibitions, music shows and more.
- Spend time at Souk Al-Mubarakiya
Souk Al Mubarakiya is one of the oldest souqs in Kuwait, dating back at least 200 years. It’s also used to be the center of trade before the discovery of oil. It’s easy to spend hours there just walking around and discovering what bargains you can get on things such as silk carpets, antiques, perfumes and traditional costumes.
If that isn’t enough, there’s also two free museums there – Sheikh Mubarak Kiosk and the first Islamic pharmacy in Kuwait.
- Become a tourist
If you haven’t already explored the surroundings of Kuwait City, it’s definitely something you should do. Try visiting Al Jahra, the site of the infamous shootout from the Gulf War. In the spring, the desert is transformed into a green oasis. The only thing the town has is a rectangular mud structure called Red Fort.
There’s also a historic island located 20km northeast of Kuwait City. It was known to the ancient Greeks as Ikaros, now a part of Failaka Island. The Gulf War caused a lot of damage to it but there are still historic ruins worth visiting.