Since it’s summer, many residents are already getting a head start on the holidays – as schools are out, and most government employees will be off from Sunday, July 27 to Aug. 4.
Despite the expected exodus from Qatar, there are a slew of activities lined up over the Eid holidays.
And while the crisis in Gaza has put a damper on the celebratory mood for many residents – with the Heritage Village, Souq Waqif and Katara scaling back its Eid plans – many other venues are still going ahead with preparations.
Here’s what you need to know about spending Eid al-Fitr in Qatar this year:
According to the Qatar Meteorology Department, we’re in for a humid Eid week.
In a statement, the MET forecasts that changes in wind direction will bring large amounts of water vapor to Qatar. This means temperatures will fall from Sunday to Tuesday, but the days will feel especially damp.
By mid-week, the wind is expected to turn northwesterly, decreasing visibility as dust blows across the country. Temperatures are also expected to rise at this time, to the mid-40Cs.
For those observing Eid prayer, it starts at 5:15am. Qatar’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) has advised prayer-goers to arrive early to avoid traffic congestion and to park their cars properly.
The Awqaf has said that for the first time this year, Zakat-al-Fitr (a small payment Muslims must give in charity each holiday) can be paid by texting “Zakat-al-Fitr” to 92119, for an automatic QR15 deduction.
Local banks and financial institutions, including insurance companies and the Qatar Stock Exchange, will be closed for four days, from July 28-31 (Monday to Thursday). Trading on the QSE will resume on Aug. 3.
But not all banks will be shut for the entire Eid holiday:
- Qatar National Bank (QNB): E-branches at the Marriot, Dar Al Salam mall, Pearl (Porto Arabia) and Al Khor Mall will remain operational 24/7. And starting the second day of Eid, normal working hours will resume at branches at the Mall, Villaggio, City Center, Landmark, Lagoona and the West Bay Cards Center. More details can be found here.
- Doha Bank: Branches at City Center, Abu Hamour and LuLu (D-Ring, Al Khor Mall and Gharafa) will operate from 5pm to 9pm on the second, third and fourth day of Eid.
- Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) will re-open its Dar Al Salam and City Center mall branches on the evening of the second day of Eid. Weekday hours are 9am to 2:30pm and 3:30pm to 9pm; and 4pm to 9pm on Fridays.
Ministry of Interior hours
Visa issuance and renewal services will remain open, but with abbreviated hours during Eid holidays. From July 27 to Aug. 4, 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. hours
All HMC emergency services will be open 24/7 throughout Eid.
In terms of the outpatient department, the procedure room will be closed on July 30 and Aug. 1. It will be open other days until Aug. 4 from 7am to 3pm.
The refill medication section is closed on July 28 and July 29, and open from 7am to 3pm on July 30 and 31.
Laboratory services are closed on July 28, July 29 and Aug. 1, but open on July 30 and 31 from 8am to 1pm, and Aug. 2 to 4 from 7am to 3pm.
The pharmacy will be closed on July 28 and 29, and open on July 30 and 31 from 7am to 3pm.
The Women’s Hospital pharmacy will remain open 24/7 throughout Eid. Laboratory services there will be closed on July 28 and July 29, and open on July 30 and 31 from 9am to 1pm. They will close again on Aug. 1, and open from 7am to 3pm from Aug. 2 to 4.
Al Wakrah hospital’s outpatient clinics and pharmacy will be closed from July 27 to Aug. 4, reopening on Aug. 5. Emergency services will still be available.
Al Khor hospital’s outpatient clinics will be closed until Aug. 4, reopening Aug. 5. But the outpatient pharmacy will be open from 7am to 3pm.
Al Rumailah hospital will be closed July 28 and July 29, and open from 9am to noon on July 30 and 31.
A full list of available services and hours can be found here.
Though all concerts and art displays have been canceled, family fun can still be had at the souq. Its circus tent and games tent will both be open from July 29 to Aug. 2.
There will be two daily circus shows – the first from 5pm to 6:30pm, and the second from 8pm to 9:30pm. Carnival shows, face painting, hoppers and skill games can be found inside the game tent, which is open from 4pm to 10pm.
A number of festivities will be held in Porto Arabia, at Parcel 9 and 10 of the Pearl. Festivities will take place from the first to the third day of Eid, and run from 6pm to 10pm. Admission is free.
Aqua Park Qatar
The water park will be open from 10am to 10pm during the holidays, and Eid activities will take place from 3pm to 9:30pm. Activities are based around a fun pirate theme.
Wet sponge throwing, balloon blasts, face-painting, a bouncy castle and a cartoon mascot are among the festivities for kids and families to enjoy.
Activities will be held from the first to the fifth day of Eid, with an entrance fee of QR130 per person. Pre-booking tickets is recommended. To do so, call 4490 5872/73/78.
Located at Al Bidaa Park (next to Rumailah Park) along the Corniche, the Heritage Village is hosting activities for children and families from 5pm onwards, with free admission. Local and regional dancing shows were scheduled to take place but were cancelled last minute.
All shows are organized by Qatar’s Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage.
Sealine paragliding tour
For those looking to get their adrenaline pumping, the Qatar Air Sports Committee is holding aerial paragliding tours at Sealine Beach (just before Sealine Beach Resort roundabout).
The tours will be held from the first to the fifth day of Eid from 3pm to 6pm. The cost is QR250 per person. Visit QASC’s website here for more info.
Dosari Zoo and Game Reserve
Dosari Zoo is opening its doors to visitors from the second to the fifth day of Eid from 4pm to 7pm. Admission is free. The zoo is located in Ash-Shahaniyah.
Museum of Islamic Art
The MIA will reopen and resume normal operating hours from the second day of Eid onwards.
Although no Eid-specific activities are being held, there are a handful of tours and exhibitions to check out during the latter part of next week, which can be found on MIA’s events calendar here.
Qatar’s state mosque (Imam Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab)
The state mosque is located in Dafna near TV Roundabout. Muslims and non-Muslims are invited to take a tour of the facility during the afternoon from the first to the fifth day of Eid.
The tours are free and are being organized by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.
Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
Displaying ancient relics of Islamic art, Qatar heritage, vehicles, coins and currency, this quirky museum will welcome visitors from the first day of Eid onwards.
Opening times are from 8:30am to 6pm, and the museum is located in Al Rayyan.
UPDATE: On the first day of Eid, residents reported that the museum was closed until 4pm. However, it is expected to be open from 9am on Tuesday. Here are directions:
— Bright Thomas (@Brighthomas) July 28, 2014
A number of performances and activities will be taking place at City Center, Landmark, The Mall, Hyatt Plaza, Al Khor Mall and Lagoona for a week, starting with the first day of Eid.
Many of them will be geared toward children, with performances from Dora the Explorer, Beauty and the Beast and Angry Birds. There will also be clown and magic shows, oud musicians and arda dancing.
Shows will run from 5pm to 9:30pm daily at all malls except for Landmark, which has its first show starting at 6:40pm. A full schedule can be seen on Eid in Qatar’s website here.
The site launched this Eid in conjunction with the Qatar Tourism Authority, which had announced a seven-day holiday extravaganza to woo Gulf tourists to the country.
What would you add to this list? Thoughts?