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Public Holidays & Annual Events in Qatar

Public Holidays

The two major public holidays in Qatar are religious ones: Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha. Eid Al Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (Hijri calendar). During this month, Muslims are required to abstain from food, drink, cigarettes, sexual acts and unclean thoughts from dawn until dusk.

The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar months, thus the beginning and the ending of Ramadan is not fixed but instead is decided on the sighting of the moon. As a result, religious holidays are only confirmed 24 hours in advance.

Eid Al Fitr is usually marked by a three day celebration where almost every business in the country shuts down for the occasion. Eid Al Adha, the festival of the sacrifice, commemorates Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God. It follows Eid Al Fitr by around 70 days and is marked by a four-day celebration. On the occasion of this Eid, some Muslims slaughter sheep and distribute the meat to the poor. Besides these two religious celebrations, National Day was introduced in 2007 and has a fixed date of 18 December.

Non-Muslim holidays such as Christmas or Easter will be given in expatriate schools and also foreign businesses in Qatar, although this is discretionary. The Islamic New Year is celebrated on the first day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar, although it is not officially a public holiday.

Annual Events

The PGA European Tour comes to Doha for the Qatar Masters in January and although this tournament gains importance by the year, it still only manages to draw a few of Europe’s high-ranking professionals. The positive side to this is that it gives a better opportunity for up-and-coming players to make their mark and a chance for spectators to watch the big names of the game’s future.

Held in March each year, the Doha Cultural Festival is the biggest event of its kind in the country, presenting an exciting programme of events including music, poetry, theatre and dance. The festival, organised by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage, draws local residents and visitors from around the world to this international celebration of culture. Highlights in the past have included exhibitions and demonstrations of traditional crafts and the art of falconry.

Held annually in June, the Summer Wonders Festival offers a programme of events providing lots of family entertainment that has proved to be especially popular with the kids. The Qatari Government launched this extravaganza with the objective of bringing in a greater number of tourists, with events held at parks and retail locations throughout the city for a two-month period. Features include: a tropical rainforest exhibit, camel-back and horse-back rides, an international village showcasing the foods, crafts and culture of countries around the world, contests, music, parades and a circus.

The Qatar Marine Sports Federation presents the best in Class 1 powerboat racing at the Qatar Grand Prix, held along the Doha Corniche in November. Two races are held during the five days here. The popularity of this event is on the increase, particularly as a local driver won the championship in 2005.





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