Hundreds of thousands of Qatar residents are preparing to celebrate the most important date in their religious calendar next week.
Easter Sunday, which for Christians marks the resurrection of Jesus, falls on April 16 this year.
Though that’s a working day in Qatar, many expats are still planning to head to church and mark the occasion with friends and family in the days to come.
Here’s our guide to what Easter events are going on in Qatar this year.
Some Christians mark Lent, the 40 days before Easter, with a series of special church services and talks.
These culminate with services on Maundy Thursday (April 13), Good Friday (April 14) and Easter Sunday itself.
Starting today, special services will begin at the Religious Complex in Mesaimeer, near Doha’s Industrial Area.
It houses Qatar’s church buildings, and a number of different Christian denominations worship there.
The country’s Catholic Church, Our Lady of the Rosary, will hold services in 12 languages – Arabic, English, Tagalog, Malayalam, Korean, Sinhalese, Urdu, French, Italian, Tamil, Konkani and Indonesian – throughout Easter weekend.
You can see timings and a full schedule of all services here.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s Anglican Church of the Epiphany will hold services in English, Igbo, Tamil and Marathi.
In addition to a morning mass on Easter, the church will hold a mass at night to accommodate those who are working during the day. For a full list of services and timings, see here.
If you are a member of a different Christian congregation and would like to share your service details here, please comment below.
There are also lots of recreational activities planned this weekend.
Animal lovers for example may enjoy an egg treasure hunt being put on by 2nd Chance Rescue Qatar on Friday, April 14.
The animal rescue group is holding a fundraiser at its farm from 3pm to 7pm.
Attendees will be able to take one of the rescue dogs for a walk, search for Easter eggs in the outdoors and enjoy a bouncy castle (for children). Food and drink will be available for purchase and there will be a bonfire in the evening.
An entrance fee of QR50/person will be charged. More details and a map of the venue can be found here.
For many people, delicious food shared with loved ones is a big part of celebrating Easter. If you feel like eating out, there are plenty of options around town.
Here are some of them:
On Friday, April 14, the Hilton will hold a special seafood Easter brunch that promises “delicious roasts” and “decadent desserts.”
The brunch in Mawasem, which runs from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm, costs QR250 per person with soft drinks or QR350 with alcohol.
Trader Vic’s will also hold a special brunch on Friday that costs QR275 per person with mocktails, or QR350 per person with cocktails. For reservations, call 44233112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Also on Friday, this hotel will hold a brunch and Easter egg hunt from noon to 3pm at its Hyde Park coffee shop. Diners will be entertained by Doha Jazz. The brunch will cost QR170 per person for food only, or QR235 with drinks. Kids from 6-12 years old pay half price, and children aged 0-5 eat for free. For reservations, call 44281555.
The Ritz will hold an Easter Picnic Brunch on Friday from 12:30pm to 4pm at its Lagoon Restaurant. The venue promises “exciting kids’ activities,” plus entertainment and live cooking stations. The meal will cost QR349 per adult with alcoholic drinks, or QR249 with soft beverages. Children between 5-12 years old will cost QR99, while under 5s eat for free.
Meanwhile, the hotel’s La Mer Bistro will hold an Easter Bunny Hunt on April 12, 13 and 14 from 10am until noon. Guests will also be able to design their own Easter egg. Call 4484 8552/4484 8000 to book.
The hotel’s Market restaurant will host an Easter brunch from midday until 4pm on Sunday. It will cost QR410 per person including alcohol, or QR295 with soft drinks. You can book by calling 4453 5135 or by sending the hotel a message via WhatsApp to 7794 3975.
Also on Sunday, the Sheraton’s La Veranda restaurant will hold a kid-friendly celebration from noon to 4pm. Activities will include face painting, Easter egg decoration, an egg hunt and games like musical chairs and a tug of war.
The brunch will cost QR250 per person with soft drinks or QR330 with alcohol. Children aged 6-12 get a 50 percent discount, while kids below six years old dine for free. For reservations call 44853000, or email F&Breservations.Doha@sheraton.com.
Kids will also be entertained at this hotel, which will hold a brunch from noon to 3:30pm on Sunday. The hotel promises egg coloring and a treasure hunt game for the little ones.
The event is priced at QR185 per person, including drinks. Children aged 6-12 years old get a 50 percent discount, and kids below six eat for free. For bookings, call 44291111.
Intercontinental Doha The City
This hotel’s The Square restaurant will host another kid friendly brunch on Sunday, from 12:30 to 4pm. The hotel is promising a child-friendly buffet with a bouncy castle, face painting and an egg hunt.
The event will cost QR195 with alcohol. Children below 6 years dine for free, and 6-12 year olds get 50 percent off. To book, call 40158888.
Sharq Village & Spa
The St. Isaac The Syrian and St. George Orthodox Church in Qatar will host an Easter lunch at the Sharq on Sunday at 1:30pm.
Attendees will be entertained by a Syrian singer from Aleppo, and children will have their own entertainment and buffet. The event will cost QR250 for adults (over 12 years old) and children (aged 6-12) will cost QR140. Kids ages five and below are free. For more information and how to book, see here.
If you know of something else going on around town that you think we should include, please either comment below or email us at email@example.com.