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Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr 2017 and 2018

Eid Al Fitr is a public holiday in Qatar, as in other Islamic countries, and is celebrated with much religious fervour and general merriment every year. The holiday comes on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal, which immediately follows the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

YearDateDayHoliday
201725 Jun to 27 JunSun to TueEid al-Fitr Holiday
201815 Jun to 17 JunFri to SunEid al-Fitr Holiday

The date of Eid Al Fitr changes from year to year on the Western calendar, and it is not official until the local sighting of a new moon.

Eid Al Fitr traditions in Qatar are much like those in other Middle Eastern countries. They include: wearing new clothes, attending communal prayer sessions at mosques or in outdoor prayer grounds, eating large, festive meals with family and friends, visiting various relatives and greeting them with “Eid Mubbarak!” (Blessed Eid!), giving the “zakat al-fitr,” a charitable duty that often given in the form of food, and giving candy and other small gifts to children.

In Qatar, public sector employees can get up to 11 straight days off, including weekends, for Eid Al Fitr. Private sector workers are also off for extended periods of time, as are school children. Many Qataris travel outside the country on vacation this time of year, while others attend the numerous festive events organised in Qatar.

Eid Activities

Those visiting Qatar for Eid Al Fitr will have a plethora of activity options, but here are a few ideas on what to do:

  • Attend official Eid Al Fitr events, which go on for at least five days, at local malls, including: Hyatt Plaza, City Center, Dar Al Salaam, Landmark, Gulf, Lagoona, and Medina Centrale Malls. There will be plays, magic shows, clown acts, face painting, and more, much of it geared toward children. Malls and shops will also have special sales, and there will be parades and cultural events in Downtown Doha.
  • Walk the Corniche, a four-mile pedestrian pathway that is the very center of Doha’s cultural life. The amazing views and cool sea breeze are very pleasant, and there are often various cultural and festive events held here during Eid Al Fitr, though they may vary year to year.
  • Visit the Katara Cultural Village, where you will find both special Eid Al Fitr events and year-round exhibits. There are often plays, fairs, concerts, and bazaars held here, and you will find many Qatari restaurants nearby.
  • Tour the many Doha museums. The Arabic Museum of Modern Art has thousands of exhibits from all over the Middle East, and the Museum of Islamic Art is famous both for its collections and for its being lit up at night. The National Museum is to be finished some time in 2016 and will be a huge display of Qatar’s heritage built on the site of a former palace. Finally, do not overlook the museum in famous Doha Fort and the intriguing Weaponry Museum, which houses Lawrence of Arabia’s dagger.
  • Shop the Souq Waqif, an open-air market with an abundance of high-quality souvenirs for sale, including spices, incense, perfumes, jewelry, Qatari-style lamps, and much more. You will find there are also art galleries and cafes in the side alleys.

Qatar celebrates Eid Al Fitr in grand fashion, with numerous events for tourists and locals alike. The difficulty will be in deciding on which events to attend.