Here’s something to look forward to in the new year. Take note of the upcoming holidays in Qatar for 2018 so you can plan your vacations and leaves accordingly.
So far, there are four holidays announced. Please check again for further holidays to be announced by the government.
Holiday Schedule in Qatar 2018
- National Sports Day – February 13
The government mandates the second Tuesday of February as the National Sports Day. On this day, government and non-government offices are required to prepare sports and physical activities for their employees. This holiday is all about promoting a healthy lifestyle for the people in Qatar.
Among the common sports activities are football (or soccer), basketball, volleyball, cricket, swimming, horse racing, camel racing, auto racing powerboat racing, golf, Olympic-style handball and rowing competitions.
- Eid al-Fitr – June 15 to 17
This date changes every year on the Western calendar, and only becomes official upon sighting of the new moon. This holiday comes after Ramadan.
There are traditions observed during Eid al-Fitr. These include communal praying in mosques or other prayer grounds, eating with families and friends, giving gifts to children and giving zakat al-fitr as charitable duty. Everyone is greeted with “Eid Mubarak”
During this long holiday, some employees in the public sector can get as much as 11 days off from work. In the private sector, employees are also given several days off. Even school children are given a vacation.
- Eid al-Adha – August 20 to 22
This is also known as the Feast of Sacrifice. It is considered as the holiest in the Islamic calendar. It comes 70 days after Eid al-Fitr.
Eid al-Adha commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son in an altar to obey Allah. There are also traditions observed during this time. It includes morning prayer in the mosques and other prayer area and sacrificing animals such as cattle, goat and sheep. These sacrificed animals will be eaten by the family, and a portion will usually be donated to the poor. Performing Hajj also happens before Eid-al Adha.
During this holiday, employees usually get around three to five days off from work. Even school will be closed. Services, such as banks, are also usually closed. But some are open for a shortened time.
- National Day – December 18
This holiday commemorates the unification of Qatar. It also remembers and respect Sheikh Jassim and many other people who sacrificed for Qatar’s unification and independence. This is also known as Founder’s Day.
Before the unification, the country has to contend with tribal conflicts and battling with the British and Ottoman empires. Through the efforts of Sheikh Jassim, the various tribes in Qatar came together and were able to repel outside influence.
During National Day, most of the festivities are in Darb Al-Saai, which is in Al Sadd. The events held reflect Qatari history such as camel and horse riding, falconry and shooting. There are also celebrations in the Katara Cultural Village, while the National Day parade is held in Corniche.