How expats embrace Ramadan in Qatar

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Ashlee

(For illustrative purposes only. Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images)

By Wajeeha Malik

The month of Ramadan comes with a lot of changes and celebration of traditions. In Qatar, where there are so many different people from across the world, there are many ways in which expats become part of the festivities and embrace the spirit of the Holy Month.

1.  By observing the values of Ramadan

Although they’re part of the religion and culture all year-round, there are some values that are practiced more attentively in Ramadan. Expats and non-Muslims show respect by dressing modestly, not eating or drinking in public, and avoiding public displays of affection. Watch this video by ILQ to get some ideas about how to dress during Ramadan!

2.  Making the most out of the changing habits

From changes in traffic patterns and reduced working hours, expats get to experience a new side of Qatar. Jemina Legaspi, a Filipino expat who has lived here for around 15 years, says:

“As a Christian expat, Ramadan is always quite an interesting time for me and my family. Considering there are no restaurants open during the day, we usually eat at home, which is a good thing because you get to spend more time with your family and eat home-made food.”

(For illustrative purposes only. Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images)

3.  Taking part in the Sohour, Iftar, and other celebrations happening around the city

“During the evening, sometimes there are Ramadan celebrations in multiple places in Doha, which we always end up visiting,” says Jemina. These include Iftar and Sohour buffets that are organized by hotels and restaurants, in addition to festivals that are open to all of Qatar. During these, you get to meet people from all over Doha, and might even learn a little more about Ramadan. You don’t have to be fasting in order to take part in these!

4.   Embracing the spirit of giving in Ramadan

“I do have to mention that I appreciate the love that people share during Ramadan towards other people, even though they don't know them,” Jemina says. “For instance, some individuals provide food and water for Iftar to strangers – it's such a wonderful initiative to share your blessings.” There are also many charities and initiatives set up during Ramadan, which you too can join in by donating and organizing events for those who are less fortunate.

(Minaret at the Katara Mosque. For illustrative purposes only. Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images)

5.   Enjoying some traditional Ramadan treats at a friend’s house

“My Muslim friends always invite me at least twice during every Ramadan to have Iftar at their place,” says Jemina. “It's such a wonderful experience to be part of something that’s important to them.” You too can visit a local friend to experience what it’s like to spend Ramadan in Qatar.

Is there anything else we should be adding to our list folks? Tell us how you get into the Ramadan spirit and share in the Holy Month as you embrace the local culture in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to give us a like and a share – it keeps us going!