Qatar National Day 20114 Comments 29 November 2011
Just the facts
What: Qatar National Day
When: December 18
Where: All over Qatar, but especially along the Corniche
Why: National Day commemorates the day in 1878 when Qatar achieved national unity under Sheikh Jassem bin Mohamed Al Thani, first celebrated in 2007. For more information, including a schedule of events closer to December 18: Check out www.ndqatar.com or www.timeoutdoha.com.
National Day Insiders Guide
National Day can be hectic, and details usually aren’t released until just before the event. Our insiders guide will help you not miss a thing.
Before the event: Watch out for decorations going up, flags, banners, stickers and more going on sale, and even camel sightings in the lead up. Military drills and parade formats are practiced, and last year a giant disco ball was suspended over the Corniche. Also, tradition comes to the fore, with camel dressage competitions, falconry demonstrations, and more in the lead up to National Day.
The day of: This is the time of year when people paint their cars with the flag and images of Qatar and the royal family, and drive up and down the Corniche, often sitting on top of their vehicles or hanging out the windows. It’s great fun if you want to join the parade, but just make sure the driver keeps their eyes on the road: National Day is no time for car wrecks! If you just want to get from point a to point b, find an alternative route as the Corniche and the areas around it will be jammed. Although the full schedule of events isn’t usually released until just before the event, expect fireworks, parades, and more. It’s also a national holiday, so expect bigger than average crowds at public spaces like restaurants, malls and cinemas as everyone gets the day off work.
Top tip: Want to get in on the fun? Either show up early enough to get one of the coveted parking places along the Corniche, or park further away and walk down to the festivities. It’s a great time to go it on-foot, and that’s often faster than trying to drive to your destination. And don’t forget your camera: National Day makes for some unforgettable Qatar images. Last year we saw a camel being ridden down the sidewalk. Awesome.
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