I asked these camels to say “Cheese!” and they all turned to give me their best profile look. You see, they are rehearsing for the upcoming Miss Camel Beauty Pageant which is held every year in Saudi Arabia. They flutter their thick eyelashes and show off their long legs and voluptuous curves. In a country where immodest women would be arrested for showing their legs and curves, the only beauty contest one will ever see in this country is for CAMELS, and it’s open to males and females alike.
Judging criteria includes overall health, beauty of the head, eyes, teeth, cheekbones, legs, and of course humps, as well as genuine affection displayed for the camel’s owner. And what exactly are the judges looking for? “The nose should be long and droop down, that’s more beautiful,” explains Sultan al-Qahtani, one of the organizers. “The ears should stand back, and the neck should be long. The hump should be high, but slightly to the back.” In addition, to be fair, the camels compete in different categories based on their breed or color: black, white, dark brown, and beige with black shoulders.
Prizes are worth every bit of immodesty shown by the camels. Past sponsors have contributed an almost three million US dollar booty in cash and prizes which includes dozens of SUVs awarded to lucky winners. One winning camel could fetch upwards of half a million US dollars! With that kind of cash at stake, it’s no surprise that the number of camel contestants easily exceeds 1500 entrants. These contests have proven so wildly popular that many other countries in the Middle East hold their own contests, which serve to preserve the lifestyles of nomadic Bedouin culture in the region. In addition, the contests elevate the status of camels and give them the love and respect they deserve for being such an important historical part in the development of the Gulf countries and recognition for their key role in helping to spread Islam throughout the world.
About This Blog, and About Me: Susie of Arabia
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is KSA's 2nd largest city and is located on its west coast, right on the Red Sea. I moved here in 2007 with my Saudi hubby and teenage son. This journal reflects the things that I see here, life through my eyes, my lens.
Please be sure to also visit my other blog, SUSIE'S BIG ADVENTURE, which relates my experiences, thoughts, and observations about living in Saudi Arabia.
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