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Flower men from the South

Flower men from the South

Flower men from the South

A Flower boy from the south. Photos taken by Ibrahim Sarhan, whose photos are part of the Kingdom of Cultures Exhibit at Ithra.

By Rym Al-Ghazal
October 15th, 2020
“I would search for the perfect flower…”

Hadesh Ahmad Al-AlMaee remembers a childhood of running around in search of the perfect flower for his headpiece known as ‘Asaib Al-Tayyib.’ “We boys would compete on who would have the most colorful, the most fragrant, head crown,” said the mountainous tribal man now in his 60s. 

Sometimes, he admits, with a laugh, he would ‘kidnap’ the flowers of a neighbor’s garden, to add that final unique floral touch. “Our whole neighborhood is a garden, we are very blessed.” He was one of the handful of “flower men” invited by the King Abdulaziz Center for World

Culture (Ithra) brought over from the southern provinces of Jizan and Asir in the south to Dhahran during Saudi National Day celebrations. It is part of a drive to promote home-grown culture. The reclusive fun-loving “flower men” danced, sang, and demonstrated to visitors of all ages the ancient art of creating intricate aromatic floral wreaths. 

There are many legends surrounding this tradition of tribesmen wearing the colorful crowns. One story goes that they are used as camouflage to conceal the men from enemies. It is also there to protect the head and pay tribute to nature’s beauty, a tradition that goes back centuries.

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