The most important date in the Christian calendar, Easter Sunday, will fall on April 20 this year.
Qatar’s hundreds of thousands of Christians are preparing to mark the holy day – which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus – with religious celebrations, parties and events.
There’s a lot to do all over town – here are some highlights:
Doha’s numerous Christian congregations have a wide variety of services planned for the holy week.
Doha’s Anglican church, the Church of the Epiphany, will hold Palm Friday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday services in English, Tamil and Igbo. Most are located at the church’s main site in Abu Hamour, but two will be held in Dukhan and Al Khor. As part of its celebrations on Easter Sunday, the church will also hold an Easter vigil at dawn April 20. Full details can be found here.
Meanwhile, the country’s Catholic church, Our Lady of the Rosary, which is also located at the religious complex in Abu Hamour, will offer a variety of services in English, Spanish, Arabic, French, Malayalam, Urdu, Italian, Sinhala, Konkani, Tagalog and Tamil. Details of all of the services available across the holy week can be found here.
Qatar’s Coptic Church of St. Peter & St. Paul also has a number of services planned, including a mass at midnight on the 20th. More details are here.
Chocolate Easter eggs large and small, special biscuits, simnel cakes and hot cross buns are all traditional treats of the season.
Easter confectionery can be found in many of the city’s main supermarkets – including Carrefour, Spinneys, Megamart and LuLu. British department store Marks and Spencer and French chain Monoprix are also selling a wide range of treats.
If it’s baked goods you’re after, New York favorite Magnolia Bakery is selling a wide range of special Easter cakes that can be ordered in advance, including specially decorated cupcakes that are 12 for QR99. Call 4450 9407 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
La Cigale has also brought out a range of delicious offerings on sale, including chocolate arrangements, festive cakes and brioche rolls.
Easter is preceded by Lent, traditionally a period of fasting and self-restraint, so Easter Sunday is often filled with joyous feasting.
Many of Doha’s hotels are hosting special Easter brunches, including:
The Intercontinental, The City, which is offering an Easter Day Brunch at The Square, as well as a similar brunch on Good Friday, for those who have to work on Sunday. The brunch costs QR330 per person including alcohol or QR230 including soft drinks, with a rate of QR115 for children aged between 6 to 12 years old.
Meanwhile, its sister hotel beside the beach is offering a special Easter brunch in its Coral restaurant for QR365 per person. There are also buffets at Greek restaurant Mykonos and at Fish Market. Special activities are being organized for children, including an Easter egg hunt.
La Varenne, the French restaurant in Tornado Tower, is offering brunches on Friday and Saturday, April 18 and 19. This costs QR379 including selected alcoholic drinks, or QR179 without. Children will be entertained with face painting.
The Four Seasons will hold Good Friday and Easter Sunday brunches at Nusantao, priced QR375 for unlimited food and drink (bubbly is extra). Kids aged 5 to 12 years old cost QR190; under 5s are free.
The W Hotel is offering an Easter Sunday brunch at La Spiga (priced QR300 per person, with a 25 percent discount on drinks) and a Good Friday brunch in Spice Market (QR380 per person including alcohol, QR290 without.)
Meanwhile, the St. Regis will be hold Easter Brunch in its Vine Restaurant and Terrace, with activities for children. This will cost QR345 including soft drinks; QR395 including alcohol.
At La Cigale, the Easter lamb will be the focal point of a special celebratory brunch, along with lots of seafood and sushi. This is priced at QR270 per person, inclusive of one cup of coffee or tea.
The Grand Hyatt Doha is also offering an Easter brunch on April 18 at The Grill from 12:30 until 4pm. There will be a buffet and activities for children, including an egg hunt. There will also be four-course meals for Easter lunch and dinner on April 20 and April 21 at The Grill and Rocca. for QR180/person. And the Biscotti cafe will be selling Easter goodies including chocolate bunnies and eggs through April 21.
Finally, Sharq Village & Spa’s Liwan restaurant will host a bubbly brunch on Easter Sunday with a variety of children’s activities on offer, including face painting and Easter egg coloring. This will cost QR300 including soft drinks, or QR450 with unlimited sparkling wine.
There are also a couple of Easter events around town that specifically cater to children, including:
The St. Regis hotel’s “Benjamin Bunny Afternoon Tea” on Good Friday from 3pm, which will also involve storytelling and egg hunting. Children are encouraged to wear fancy dress. This costs QR150 for adults and QR60 for children. Children under three are free.
Across town, Sharq Village is planning an “Easter bunny tea” on Easter Sunday, priced at QR155 per person, serving up a traditional afternoon tea alongside lots of Easter eggs and other goodies.
Would you add anything to this list? What are your plans?