The majority of government employees will be off starting Wednesday, July 15, with offices reopening on Sunday, July 26.
Though much of the country spent the first half of Ramadan in Qatar, schools are now out and many people are expected to be traveling over the next few weeks (prompting Hamad International Airport officials to advise passengers to arrive three hours before their departures).
Despite the expected exodus, and some security concerns, there are a host of activities lined up in Qatar over the Eid holidays, including fireworks, a food festival and lots of kids’ activities.
Here’s what you need to know about spending Eid al-Fitr here this year:
Speaking to Doha News, Steff Gaulter, senior meteorologist for Al Jazeera English, said that the “horribly humid” conditions we’re feeling this week should improve by Friday, when the winds shift directions.
However, that means the weekend will be hotter and windier, with the high reaching 44C and the low hovering around 34C.
The Qatar Meteorology Department added in a statement that visibility will decrease from Thursday to Saturday, thanks to high winds reaching speeds of up to 28 knots (52km/hour).
Prayer times/Zakat al-Fitr
The timing for Eid prayer will be 5:08am, and will be held at 316 mosques and prayer grounds in various areas of the country, including 33 mosques and places reserved for women.
Each year, Qatar’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) advises prayer-goers to arrive early to avoid traffic congestion and to park their cars properly.
For the second time, Msheireb’s Downtown Doha development will open its historic Eid prayer grounds for the early-morning tradition.
The Msheireb prayer grounds run alongside Jassim Bin Mohammed Street for a full city block, and are located directly across from Al Koot Fort near Souq Waqif.
Zakat-al-Fitr (a small payment Muslims must give in charity each holiday) is usually set around QR15/person, which can be paid at any charity booth around town.
According to QNA, local banks and financial institutions, including insurance companies and the Qatar Stock Exchange, will be closed for three days, from July 19 to 21 (Sunday to Tuesday). Trading on the QSE will resume on July 22.
Some banks will be open during the holidays, including:
- Doha Bank will be closed on Friday, July 17. On Saturday and Sunday, it will operate from 5pm to 9pm at City Center and Abu Hamour mall branches, and at Lulu stores on D-Ring, in Al Gharafa and Al Khor. Also on Sunday, its bulk cash center and corporate branch will be open from 5pm to 9pm. Normal timings resume on Monday, July 20.
- QNB will be closed on Friday, but on Saturday and Sunday will be open during the evening at its branches in City Center mall, Landmark, the Mall, Villaggio, Lagoona, Gulf Mall, Medina Centrale and West Bay card center. All other branches will resume work after the three days of Eid.
Ministry of Interior hours
Visa issuance and renewal services will remain open, but with abbreviated hours during Eid holidays. From July 15 to July 26, the working hours will be from 8am to noon.
The Directorate of Traffic and the General Directorate of Evidence and Criminal Intelligence will also work from 8am to noon during these days.
Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC) hours
All HMC emergency services will be open 24/7 throughout Eid.
In terms of outpatient (OPD) services, OPD clinics and pharmacy will be closed at Hamad General hospital from July 16 to July 20 and will reopen on July 21.
At the Women’s hospital, OPD clinics will operate from 9am to 1pm from July 19-23, and the pharmacy will remain open 24/7.
OPD clinics and pharmacies at Al Wakrah hospital will be closed from July 16 to July 19, and some departments will reopen from July 20-23 from 7am to 3pm.
OPD clinics and pharmacies at The Cuban Hospital in Dukhan will be closed from July 16 to July 19, and reopen on July 20.
OPD services at Al Khor hospital will be closed for the entire Eid break, resuming on July 26.
For a full list of operating hours, see HMC’s Facebook page here.
The main health centers in Doha (Al Rayyan, Madinat Khalifa, Al Muntazah, Umm Ghuwailina, Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, Omar bin Al-Khatab, West Bay and Mesaimeer) will be open from 7am to 2pm and from 4pm to 10pm, except for Mesaimeer health centre, which does not work in the morning on Fridays.
Dental services at these centers will be available during these hours, except for the first day of Eid al-Fitr and Friday mornings.
Outside Doha, the health centers in Al Khor, Al Shamal and Al Wakrah will be open from 7am to 11pm, except for an afternoon break for the centers in Al Khor and Al Shamal from 2pm to 4pm.
Al-Shahaniya health center will be open every day from 7am to 9pm, while health centers in Al Jamiliyah, Al Kaaban, Al Ghuwairiya and Umm Bab will work on an on-call system around the clock.
For more information on PHCC hours, see here.
Katara Cultural Village
Katara is hosting evening activities for four days, starting on the first day of the Eid holiday.
Activities begin at 7pm, with giveaways for children. A “Land of Inventions” performance will be conducted in Arabic at 7:30pm and 9:30pm, and in English at 8:30pm.
Each evening will conclude with fireworks at 10pm.
A six-day festival will be held at the Souq in honor of Eid, running from July 18 to July 23. Children’s events will take place at an air-conditioned “Monopoly tent” in Al-Ahmed Square after 4pm (the Souq website incorrectly states it’s open in the morning).
Activities include face painting, air hockey, sumo wrestling, train rides and an F1 simulator game.
At the Souq Waqif art center, there will be workshops and cartoon drawing, among other activities from 9:30am to 4:30pm daily.
See the full events schedule here.
Aerial paragliding tours
Starting with the first day of Eid and continuing for five days, paragliding tours will be offered at Sealine Beach (prior to the beach resort roundabout).
The Qatar Air Sports Committee is organizing the trips, which cost QR250/person and run from 3pm to 6:15pm, depending on weather conditions. Participants must be 19 years or older.
Free children’s activities such as face-painting, cupcake decorating, balloon animals and art workshops will be held daily from July 17 to 19 between 6pm and 10pm.
The celebrations, which will take place at the Tickles and Giggles play arena, also include cartoon mascots and unlimited popcorn and cotton candy.
Sheikh Faisal museum
Displaying ancient relics of Islamic art, Qatar heritage, vehicles, coins and currency, this quirky museum in Al Rayyan will welcome visitors from the first day of Eid.
The museum is open from 10am to 7pm daily and is now taking bookings for tours during the holiday.
For the guided tours, children under eight years old are free. Children from eight years to 18 years old cost QR10/person, and adults are QR15/person.
There will also be several workshops for all ages offered daily from Friday, July 19 to Sunday, July 21, including painting, drawing, clay sculpture and Arabic calligraphy. The cost is QR60/person and a full schedule of the workshops can be viewed here.
Aqua Park Qatar
The Aqua Park will hold three days of festivities starting with an “African show” on the first day of Eid. The second day will feature a “Pharaonic show,” and the third will feature a “Samba show.”
Throughout the holiday, there will also be a “dwarves carnival,” clown shows, a Mickey Mouse performance and sports competitions for families, among other things.
The park will be open from 10am to 10pm starting on Eid. For more information about admissions fees and offerings, visit the Aqua Park’s website here.
Filipino food festival
More than a dozen Filipino restaurants and food vendors will offer their wares at the country’s first Filipino food festival, which will be held on the three days of Eid al-Fitr.
The festival will take place in two tents in Al Dafna, between the Philippine Embassy and Qatar University, from 9am to 10pm. Entry is free, and meals will cost around QR20.
The aim of the event, which is being organized by Nayong Filipino Group in conjunction with the embassy, is to celebrate the nation’s cuisine and introduce its best dishes to Qatar residents, as well as boost entrepreneurship, Qatar Tribune reports.
The event will feature a barbecue section, children’s games and entertainment and a “boodle fight,” which the newspaper described as a “military style of eating where a variety of food is spread on long tables.”
Some of the proceeds of the event will go to the Philippine School Doha (PSD) and the Evangelical Churches Alliance Qatar (ECAQ).
Elmo Makes Music
The cast of Sesame Street will convene at the Qatar National Convention Center during Eid holidays for a musical performance.
“Elmo Makes Music” will be held from July 18 to July 22 at 5pm and 8pm.
During the show, Abby Cadabby, Elmo and friends will start a new band and discover ‘instruments’ they never knew existed, including pots and spoons, trash can lids and cookie jars.
Tickets cost QR110, QR170, QR230 and QR350 and can be bought online here. Children under the age of three years old are free, if they sit on their parents’ laps.
Chinese cultural performances
Chinese superstore Dragon Mart is hosting a series of free kung fu and “face changing” shows in honor of the upcoming Qatar-China Year of Culture 2016. The shows will take place three times a day from 7 to 11pm from July 16 to 18.
Attendees will have the opportunity to view traditional Chinese performances like the “Dragon Dance,” in which teams of performers maneuver long dragon costumes using poles. The dance is said to mimic the movements of the dragon, a Chinese river spirit.
Also on offer are performances of Bian Lian or “face-changing,” a traditional Chinese dance that is part of the Sichuan opera. Set against quick, dramatic music, performers in vibrantly colored costumes change “faces” i.e. masks in rapid succession, hidden only by small movements like the swipe of a fan, the turn of a head, or the wave of a hand.
There will also be kung fu demonstrations, featuring practitioners of the Chinese martial art. For more information and directions, visit Dragon Mart’s Facebook page here.
Several malls will host a number of performances and activities from July 17-21, running daily from 4pm to 10pm.
Many of them are children-focused, including Cinderella at The Mall, Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants at Ezdan Mall, Circus Canada at Al Khor Mall, Peter Pan at City Center Mall, the Jungle Book at Lagoona Mall and Pinocchio at Hyatt Plaza.
For more information, see the Qatar Tourism Authority’s Eid website here.
The Ministry of interior will host cultural, recreational and sporting activities at Al Khor Barwa Workers Complex in the Al Khor Industrial Area and at Asian Town (formerly West End Park’s) cricket stadium in the Industrial Area on the first and second days of Eid from 3pm to 10pm.
In Al Khor, Indian and Nepali cultural performances will be held from 4pm to 9pm. There will also be cricket, volleyball, football and basketball matches over the two days.
Meanwhile, a cricket tournament will be held at Asian Town from 3pm to 10pm. Entrance to the matches is free and there is going to be a special area for families. There will also be a raffle with prizes for attendees.
Qatar Offroaders event
To mark Eid, this group is organizing an open drive to the Inland Sea on Sunday, July 19 at 2pm. The event, which will include barbecuing and swimming, is free and open to all.
The group will meet at Sealine and head out around 2:30pm. There will be two routes – one for experienced off-roaders, and the other for non-members who are less familiar with driving through the sand dunes.
Bring your own food, drinks and toys. For those who don’t have a 4X4, RSVP at the event’s Facebook page here to find a ride with someone else.
What are your plans for Eid? Thoughts?