Qatar is a beautiful country that has a lot to offer in terms of food, traditions and even sightseeing. We have put together a list of must-experience things for you to help you understand Qatar better. Time to see how many of these have you already done!
Ardha is the traditional sword dance of Qatar. It dates back to a time when the Bedouin tribes were predominant in Qatar and this dance was performed before they entered a fight or war. Today, this dance can be seen performed at special occasions like weddings, during Eid-al-Fitr, Eid-al-Adha and also during Qatar National Day. It is performed by men and they use this dance to show off their moves to the beat of the drums while reciting verses from old Nabati poetry. This is something you must experience in Qatar, at least once in your lifetime.
Bukhoor or bakhoor has been around for centuries and has been used in Qatari homes purify them and get them to smell amazing. Meaning fumes in Arabic, Bukhoor is scented resins or bricks that are soaked with natural ingredients like musk, sandalwood and other fragrant oils. This is placed over hot coal in an incense holder made called the Mabkhara.
Camel racing is a competitive sport not only in Qatar but the entire gulf region. People from all over the world come to participate at the renowned camel racetracks at Al Shahaniya, which is an hour away from Doha. The competitions take place from October until February every year, and the main competitions are in March and April. The winner is awarded the prestigious Golden Sword of the Father Amir H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani at the end of the festival which is well-known as H.H. the Amir’s Main Race. Entry is free and they usually take place from 7 am to 2 pm.
The dhows are very significant to Qatar and are part of the tradition here. Initially, dhows or boats were used by pearl divers in Qatar. They were also used for fishing and transporting goods. Today, apart from used for fishing, it is a big tourist attraction as people love to take a ride in the dhows along Qatar’s coastline, especially at the Corniche. A ride on the dhow will typically cost anywhere between QR 20 to QR 50. There are different packages for families and group of friends as well.
Eid is a wonderful and grand time in Qatar with celebrations happening here in full swing. There are two Eids celebrated in Qatar namely: Eid Al Adha and Eid Al Fitr. Dwell in the celebrations and enjoy some delicious food and desserts with friends and family here in Qatar. Make the most of the offers and activities that happen around Eid here, right from shopping for clothes to enjoying hefty discounts on electronics, accessories, cosmetics and more at most of the shops in Qatar.
Qatar’s falconry tradition dates back to time immemorial. Even today, it is a popular sport that many people in the Middle East take part in. You can visit the state-of-the-art veterinary hospital dedicated to the treatment of falcons at Souq Waqif. Al Galayel is a hunting competition and, till today, the only one of its kind.
Nothing can beat the taste and aroma of Arabic coffee or Gahwa. It is a must that you try this wonderful drink when you’re here in Qatar. It is poured through a pot called the ‘dallah’ and into a delicate cup called the ‘finjaan’. It is a customary drink that is served to guests and this traditional drink is loved by Qataris and locals alike!
A traditional Qatari dish, harees or harissa is the porridge-like dish in which ground wheat and meat are boiled together and garnished with cardamom, butter, sugar and cinnamon. Enjoy the perfect balance of flavours in this hearty dish and taste a bit of tradition while you do!
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A visit to the National Museum of Qatar can teach you a lot about Qatar, how life was back in the days, the Bedouin life and how it has evolved up until the present day. The structure of NMoQ, which was inspired by the desert rose is in itself absolutely stunning to look at! You can also visit the Desert Rose Café, Jiwan Restaurant and shops while you’re there.
One cup of this sweet drink can shoo all your worries away! It is the perfect balance of milk, tea and sweetness. The love for this drink is shared by all in Qatar. How much do you love this stress-buster?
This is probably one of the most loved dishes in Qatar. An absolute treat, this dish is made with a mixture of butter, milk, flour, sugar, saffron and cardamom and are shaped into small dumplings. These dumplings are deep-fried and are dipped in sugar syrup or honey. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, these are a must-have!
The most popular dish in any Qatari home, Machboos is rice cooked in spices along with lamb, chicken, fish, shrimp or even camel! Get lost in the taste and beautiful aroma of this beautiful dish!
Qatar National Day is a must-experience spectacle every year on December 18th, although the celebrations start much ahead. People from all over Qatar come together to celebrate unity and strengthen the pride of the country. Witness beautiful fireworks, air shows, take part in the National Day parade, enjoy great offers and discounts and also great food during the time. This year’s celebrations will be a little muted due to the coronavirus restrictions and precautions but this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all!
Oud has been around for hundreds of years, and it is a great way to smell good. You can take these back as souvenirs for family and friends and you can buy pure oud from many shops in Doha.
Qatar is also famous for adventure sports a famous sport that you can try here is paratriking. Qatar is the perfect place to paratrike and is a cool adventure sport to try out when you’re here.
Do you know the national symbols of Qatar? Is there really water in a camel's hump? QTips has all the answers! It is your #1 place for bite-sized Qatari cultural tips presented by our very our Khalifa Al Haroon a.k.a Mr. Q. It is a show that is loved by all and one can learn and know a lot about Qatar from our YouTube show.
There are certain traditions and old practices that remind us of the good old days. One such practice that is still followed in Qatar till today is the Ramadan Cannon. Traditionally, cannons were used to announce the ending of Suhoor and breaking of fast long before when loudspeakers or digital devices took over our lives. Today, Ramadan cannons can be seen at four places including Souq Waqif, Katara, Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab Grand Mosque and Souq Al Wakrah during Ramadan in Qatar.
The singing sand dunes is probably the most unique thing you can experience in Qatar. Located about 40 km to the southwest of Doha, you can hear low-pitched sounds coming from the dunes, that almost feels like a low humming while sliding down or pacing down the sand dune. It is caused by the friction between the sand grains and air that blows.
Thareed is a special dish which is similar to a pot of stew. It is made with vegetables such as potatoes, onions, carrots and beans cooked along with lamb or chicken meat and spices. The stew is poured on bread which soaks up all the beautiful flavours and makes it one hearty dish.
It is a popular Qatari dessert and this delicacy is made by drying bread and serving it with luscious toppings of milk, nuts, and raisins. It is a must-try here in Qatar!
Take a step back in time and experience what life would have been like in the past in Qatar at the many abandoned fishing villages spread across the country. This beautiful experience is one of a kind where you get to learn a lot too!
Qatari weddings are unique and have many components to it. There are different celebrations held both at the bride’s and the groom’s side. Before the actual wedding ceremony, there are several parties held including Hidiya, the gift ceremony, and the Henna party. At the groom’s house, the night before the wedding, men sing Samiri, Liwa, Habban or Tamboura and old dances performed before dinner is served. On the wedding day, a Zarif dance, dancing with swords, is performed in front of the groom's house, and after dinner. The actual wedding ceremony usually lasts about four to six hours. Males celebrate in tents and females celebrate in halls. After this, during the evening, the first-circle male relatives of the groom and of the bride walk into the hall where females are. Don’t miss the chance of attending one if you get the chance!
Qatar has the perfect topography for extreme sports like dune bashing, quad biking, sailing, scuba diving etc. Get your adrenaline pumping with any of these adventure activities the thrill of which will stay with you for a very long time!
Qatar is a beautiful melting pot of different cultures and traditions, living together in unity. Each year, a cultural exchange programme is run by Qatar Museums that aims to convey Qatar to an international audience via a variety of exhibitions, festivals, competitions and events. Each of these curated programmes promote mutual understanding, recognition and appreciation between the different countries. 2020 is Qatar-France year of culture. Previously it was shared between Qatar and India, Russia, Germany, China, Turkey and Brazil. Participate in these events and learn more about the various cultures and the connects that Qatar has with them.
The Al Khor Park Zoo is a popular family destination to experience in Qatar. Located at the Al Khor Family park, this will give you the much-needed relaxation for you and your family during the weekends, or even the weekdays! While you're there, also enjoy the other facilities in the park.
Would you know any Qatari traditions or experiences starting with Z? Let us know!
How many of these experiences have you had in Qatar? Do let us know in the comments below! Do share this article - it keeps us going!
Sources: Qatar Museums, QTips, Dine Out Doha, Wikipedia
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