Updated: Oct 14, 2021
About the Interviewee
Hi, my name is Ashfa. I am currently living in Qatar. I like to explore new things, travel, and fitness
1. Tell us a little bit about how Muslims in Qatar prepare for Ramadan? Is there anything they do specifically before the first day of Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar(lunar calendar) and the holy month of fasting. It starts and ends with the appearance of the new moon. As a preparation for the holy month people clean and decorate the houses, most of the public places are decorated and people go for tarawih prayer. I should mention another Qatari traditional event called Al-Nafla in preparation for the holy month of Ramadan. It is based on the act of giving and sharing. Families gather to prepare traditional food and is distributed among their neighbors and to the poor.
2. How would you describe the overall Ramadan spirit in Qatar? Does it have a different feeling on the streets when you go out in Ramadan?
Yes definitely, in Ramadan you will see most of the public places are decorated. Most of the activities will be held after iftar. Most restaurants stay open late. People get shortened work hours (usually from 9-2) and unusual traffic at night hours. You will experience a comparatively slower pace of life during Ramadan.
3. How does a typical iftar would look like?
Qatar has a large number of expatriates around the world and has various food styles. Most iftars consist of dates, fruits, traditional soups, and snacks. When it comes to the Qatari Ramadan table, they always break their fast with dates and yogurt.
4. How does a typical suhur (suhoor) would look like?
As I mentioned earlier, when people are from various places it is not the same with each other. Mostly it contains fruits, yogurt, milk, dates, bread, smoothies, and traditional Arabic dishes.
Ramadan is a busy season for all hotels and restaurants in Qatar, you can enjoy a wide variety of traditional and international food.
5. Is there any food or drink that is specifically consumed in Ramadan? Yes, please tell us about the deserts.
Yes, Al Harees is one of the most important dishes offered in the month of Ramadan, made of mashed wheat with meat, margarine, and crushed cinnamon. Another dish is Al Thareed which is made with bread or tortillas cut in small pieces, soaked in a meat broth which contains mostly vegetables.
Al Luqaima is a sweet served in the month of Ramadan, made of milk, cardamon, margarine, saffron, and brewed dough.
6. How do people celebrate Eid al-Fitr?
During Eid al-Fitr in Qatar, people wear new clothes, attend communal prayer at mosques or outdoor prayer ground, listen to khutba(sermon), and give zakat al-Fitr (a charity in the form of food), and giving candy and other small gifts to the children. Visiting friends and family and greeting them’ Eid Mubarak’ and enjoying large festive meals with them.
7. What makes Qatar special in Ramadan? Tell us about any activities, festivals, bazaars, etc..
Most of the activities take place in the evening. Most restaurants stay open late, while hotels offer lavish iftar and suhoor buffets. Ramadan special events at malls and places like Katara Aspire zone and souq waqif.
Ramadan cannon at State Mosque and Souq Waqif which would be marked by the firing of a cannon. It is broadcasted live on Qatar TV as a sign of the end of the day’s fast. Garango – On the 14th day of holy month parents and children celebrate this event to celebrate the completion of half a month. Children dress up in traditional clothes and carry a bag around their neck. They go to neighbors in groups singing a special song (garango song) and receiving sweets and nuts.
8. What should travelers expect to experience if they visit Qatar in Ramadan?
A day is mostly quite due to fasting but the night you will see a lot of activities happening around in Qatar. It is illegal for adults to eat or drink in public places at day time. Most restaurants remain open late with hotels having lavish iftar and suhoor buffets.
9. If I was visiting Qatar in Ramadan, where would be the best place to have iftar?
I would say any hotels or restaurant of your choice but do visit an iftar tent for iftar or suhoor. These tents are put up during Ramadan with personalized service and delicious Arabic and international dishes, with a live cooking station in every corner of the room.
10. Anything else you want to share about Ramadan in Qatar?
As an ex-pat in Qatar, what I like is, apart from boosting spirituality and attending night prayers, people increase their charitable activities during Ramadan. Helping out by volunteering or contributing to people in need. Local charities and individuals host iftar tents to provide laborers and those in need. Expat community make iftar food packs and distribute to in need. At iftar time another most beautiful thing is even at the roadside you will receive water and snacks for breaking fast.
I wish all my brothers and sisters a peaceful and safe Ramadan.
RAMADAN 2020 PROJECT: Fellow sisters and brothers around the world joined Halal Travel Experts to spread the joy and knowledge of Ramadan. To become a part of this exciting project, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is just 10 simple questions but the answers go beyond the oceans.