Raha Moharrak's moving tribute to her father's Saudi heritage

Grazia Girl Gang Ambassador for Adventure Raha Moharrak shares an emotional journey rediscovering her Saudi Arabian roots
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Raha Moharrak's moving tribute to her father's Saudi heritage

Raha Moharrak shares an ancient Saudi hair ritual called The Adyah

I believe that each of us is a collection of our ancestors' journeys, we are living, breathing museums of flesh and bone. If we don't remember our past, we fail our future. One of my passions is history. I have always been nostalgic about the past, whether its discovering the history of a new country I'm visiting, or studying my own country's stories, I have always been fascinated by times past.

As soon as I signed to be a presenter of Lafat Al Mamlaka on MBC, I immediately wanted to dedicated one of the episodes to my father as a tribute to my history. My father was born in an unknown year in his father's house in the outskirts of Jizan - back then it was a small port city and the capital of that region, tucked away in the most south-western corner of Saudi Arabi directly on the border with Yemen. My father's people love folk music and dance, vibrant colours and decorative jewellery - and even intricate weapons from a bygone era that still hang from leather belts by their sides.

One of the ancient rituals that I wanted to shed light to is The Adyah. It’s a traditional hair ritual that’s reserved for special occasions such as weddings that has never been showcased to the public ever before. The process takes over two hours and the result is a beautiful detailed art piece that blends elements of yore such as flowers, leaves and scented powders. As I sat there being transformed into someone from the past, I was flooded with thoughts of nostalgia towards such traditions and a sadness at the thought of the ones we might have lost.

However that melted away when I walked out and saw my father for the first time all dressed up in his family's tradition. His face lit up like a million stars and that’s why I love stories of the past. They awaken nostalgia among the elders and they inspire the young. To me, the past is a map of who we are, whether it’s the features of our face, our accent or even our food. They aren’t originally ours, they were gifts that have been passed onto us for safe keeping.

And in the same way our ancestors were its guardians, we are the guardians now and if we don’t take care of this gift it will be lost forever. And if we lose our past then how will we really know who we are?

Photos: Courtesy of Raha Moharrak