Annually, as part of Saudi Arabia’s National Festival for Heritage and Culture that is inaugurated by King Salman, Saudi citizens perform the traditional Najdi Ardha dance.
The dance begins with a single line of poetry that is repeated with drums beating in the background and swords wielded as part of the national ceremony.
Here are six things you should know about Saudi Arabia's Ardha dance:
1. In the past, the Saudi Ardha dance was often associated with military achievements
However, in modern times, it is performed during special occasions and celebrations and has become a widespread practice throughout the kingdom.
2. The term 'Ardha' is derived from the Arabic verb 'ard', meaning 'to show' or 'to parade'
3. It has become a national folkloric dance in Saudi Arabia and across the neighboring Arab Gulf countries
4. Swords are often wielded as part of the national ceremony
5. Dancers express their joy and pride, re-pledging allegiance to the King
6. The Ardha dance recalls the battles, wars, and victories led by the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz Al Saud
Saudi Arabia's founder, King Abdul Aziz Al Saud, reconquered his family's ancestral home city of Riyadh in 1902, starting three decades of conquests that made him the ruler of nearly all of central Arabia.
In 1922, he consolidated his control over the Najd, then conquered the Hejaz in 1925. He extended his dominions into what later became the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932.
As King, he presided over the discovery of petroleum in Saudi Arabia in 1938 and the beginning of large-scale oil production after World War II.