While Riyadh is a fascinating place to live, expats might be dismayed by what seems to be a lack of annual events. Nevertheless, those who aren't afraid to immerse themselves in the local culture are sure to find some festivals and celebrations in Riyadh.
Annual events in Riyadh
Al Janadriyah Festival (March/April)
The vibrant Al Janadriyah Festival is held every year, showcasing the best of Saudi culture, customs and traditions. Visitors can take part in numerous activities and view displays of regional architecture, craft, cuisine, markets and folklore. It's a unique opportunity for expats to go back in time to the beginnings of Arab culture.
Riyadh Spring Festival (April)
Though spring in Riyadh is likely to be much hotter than most expats are used to in springtime, it's well worth braving the heat to visit the annual Spring Festival. More than a million flowers are planted each year in specially designed formations that create a large image, and the final result is nothing less than spectacular.
Outlet Festival Riyadh (October)
Held every year in October, this festival is a shopaholic's dream, with bargains and discounts galore to be found across more than 1,500 international brands. Goods such as garments, accessories, electronics, traditional jewellery and shisha are all available at the appointed spots throughout the city.
Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha Festivals
The two annual Eid feasts are the biggest Islamic festivals and are celebrated with great ceremonies in Riyadh. Eid al-Fitr comes right after the holy month of Ramadan. Eid al-Adha takes place after the Hajj pilgrimage. There are massive celebrations all over the city at malls, embassies and in the streets. Residents get into the spirit by decorating their homes and preparing sumptuous meals for family and friends. Many shopkeepers also show their generosity by providing free Eid gifts with each purchase, like chocolates and toys for children.