After the crescent moon is sighted, Ramadan comes to an end, marking the start of Eid-al-Fitr – a three-day fast-breaking tradition. Family and friends gather to observe this significant day in the Muslim calendar, and Doha will celebrate with festivities around the city. Here’s your ultimate guide.
Traditionally the day of Eid starts early at dawn, with morning prayers at mosques throughout the city. These prayers consist of Fajr, a special Eid prayer and sermon before the first greetings of Eid Mubarak begin. There is a palpable atmosphere of anticipation and excitement in the air as the morning ritual draws to a close at the mosque.
After prayers conclude it’s time to enjoy breakfast: depending on the morning’s plans, this meal can take place at the home, or at the city’s old favourites such as Beirut or Ric’s Kountry Kitchen, where people gather to greet and wish each other for this special day. Karak teas are free-flowing, with the celebration of Eid-al-Fitr very much focused on the gathering of family and friends and one other main component, food!
Lunchtime in Doha during Eid will see places to eat offering a selection of traditional Qatari dishes such as machboos, ghuzi, balalat and um ali. Qatar is, however, home to expats from across the globe, so international restaurants like Hakkasan, Nobu, Morimoto, The Taliamare Beach Club, CUT, and Opal will all be open for business, offering something to suit everyone’s tastes.
Doha is probably one of the most family-friendly cities in the world. With Eid being about the celebration of loved ones, spending precious moments with children is of utmost importance on such a significant day. This Eid, Doha Festival City will be hosting a 20-minute theatre production of Hotel Transylvania (June, 15 – 19, 2018). This is a lovely way to keep families together as children can meet their favourite characters during this interactive show.
Doha has also adapted to its recent influx of expats. As many of these residents are unable to spend Eid with their families, who are often spread across the globe, friends become family, and in those circumstances, the more adult-friendly shows such as the musical band Thaikkudam Bridge come highly recommended. Gather in Asian Town on June, 16 for all the singing along.
Doha is famed for its fireworks displays. Previous special celebratory days such as Eid and National Day have seen some marvellous fireworks at Katara Cultural Village and at the Corniche. Stars, expanding circles, shooting stars and flying lines light up the Arabian skyline for this special occasion where you can experience the spirit and culture of this auspicious day as crowds gather to watch the exploding lights of the sky in all shapes and forms. If you choose to skip the drive, then pick one of the many rooftop gardens and terraces at the restaurants in the city where you can easily see the fireworks display, while smoking a shisha of course! For the best views of the fireworks displays visit Al Bidda Park as it offers some amazing views of the Doha skyline.
Pro tip: Make sure you leave early – as the people of Doha make their way to this magnificent display, traffic can get a little busy to get in and out of Katara Cultural Village especially.
With Eid being declared a public holiday, hotels will be offering some special ‘Eid staycations’ where you can check into some of the most opulent five-star hotels in the city such as the Mondrian Doha, Four Seasons and InterContinental Doha, to mention a few. These hotels will provide some all-encompassing packages with access to pools, beaches, dining offers and spa packages. ‘Staycationing’ in Doha is a great way to get away for a few days and experience another side to the city.
As a traditional gift-giving holiday, Eid is an important time to buy and exchange presents with loved ones. Malls and boutique shops in Doha certainly cater to this tradition, with sales taking place in many stores across the city. Eid is also an important time to give back to those in need, so many may wish to look out for food items which will also be marked down, to share with those who are less fortunate.