KUWAIT: Participants in the 31st annual pearl diving trip sailed on traditional dhows off the coast of Khairan, around 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Kuwait City yesterday. Young Kuwaiti divers searched for shells containing pearls in the seabed in a practice that mimics the profession of their ancestors. The divers and organizers had hosted a ceremony the previous night featuring traditional performances made famous during the heydays of pearl diving, and which have since become synonymous with Kuwait’s old folklore. Pearl-diving trips are held annually under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in order to keep alive traditions that accompanied the once important national trade of pearl diving, prior to the discovery of oil. The 31st Pearl Diving Trip kicked off last Thursday and concludes tomorrow in a grand ceremony. – Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat