Saudi Arabia swaps red carpets for lavender
Riyadh said the decision to choose lavender as the new colour for ceremonial carpets better reflects the national identity and the hospitality of the kingdom.
The decision on the new carpets - which will be used for protocol and other important occasions - was made by the ministry of culture and royal protocol, as part of plans to shake-up the kingdom.
The lavender carpets were rolled out for Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on Thursday, for his state visit to Saudi Arabia.
The de-facto UAE leader met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi authorities say that lavender is associated with Saudi generosity and hospitality.
Lavendar covers swathes of the country's desert landscape in spring, while the purple hue of the flower has been associated with royalty.
"The colour purple reflects the state in which the kingdom is living in today with the inspiring [Vision 2030]," a culture ministry statement said.
Saudi Vision 2030 is a strategic framework aimed at reducing the country's dependence on oil reserves by diversifying the economy, expanding the private sector, and developing public services.
The lavender carpets that the kingdom will roll out for VIPs will include traditional Al-Sadu patterns as shown in a video by the culture ministry.
These are a unique Saudi weaving method that is listed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The first written record of a red carpet appears in an Ancient Greek play.
The origin of the "red-carpet treatment" is believed to have begun in the early 1820s, when one was rolled out to welcome the arrival of US President James Monroe.