Toe-parting length, hump position, nose shape and posture—these are just among a few of the traits considered when awarding the hottest camel–during the Mazayina festival. 28,000 camels turn up each year for the Al Dhafra Festival in the Western United Arab Emirates.
The beauty contest is divided between two pools: the blonde breed from the U.A.E and Oman—and the black-skinned breed from Saudi Arabia.
Each family breeds 100 to 150 camels, their own steed—and take extraordinarily good care of them. They brush their camels’ teeth, groom their toes, and dress them in colorfully suited ropes and tassels, for the day. The bond is strong; owners cherish their camels—deeply—especially since the revival of the camel culture, in Abu Dhabi. Each one has its own distinct personality, notes one owner.
“Nice curves, full lips, firm ears and long whiskers—it’s a tall order to be a pageant-winning camel these days” says CNN news writer. 48 categories, and several rounds of competition, the winning camels took home 10 million dollars. The pageant encourages tourism and camel trading.
Owners must take an oath: “I swear by Almighty God that this camel is rightfully mine and that it is not mix-breed”… at the beginning of each pageant. Camel’s genes are crucial in determining the winners—and its head matters most.
Come to think of it, maybe there is no difference between what makes a camel and a person hot…