Outrage in Saudi Arabia over women dancers' revealing attire in Jazan winter festival
Images and videos that circulated on social media showing a winter festival in the port Saudi city of Jazan came under attack this week over the presence of dancers who appeared in revealing clothing.
Twitter users from the southern Saudi city took to their phones on January 7, publishing video clips of dancers dressed in carnival attire as they paraded through the centre of Jazan in front of crowds of residents from the city.
Reaction to the entertainment was polarised, with some bystanders booing the dancers. Jazan, well known in Saudi Arabia for its conservatism, has not witnessed such performances in recent memory.
Videos on social media showed dancers and percussionists parading to drum ensembles and shaking feathered costumes, with comments wondering "Is this the culture of our region? Are these our customs and traditions?"
Other videos showed young Saudi men performing Dabke, traditional Middle Eastern dance, and children giving the dancers high as they passed through the streets.
The festival itself, 'Jazan Winter 22', was sponsored by regional governor Mohammed bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, in cooperation with a number of Saudi officials.
"The festival represents a story of joy for the region… that meets the needs and aspirations of all segments of society", the opening statement for the festival read, according to Sawah Press.
The Jazan festival is among a host of cultural and entertainment events taking place throughout Saudi Arabia to attract thousands of local and foreign tourists.