Qatar has a rich cultural heritage that it continues to follow even as it progresses in the world. Here, we've put together a bunch of things that symbolise Qatar and define what the country is and what it stands for.
Read on to find out all about the national symbols of Qatar!
Qatar’s flag consists of two colours: ‘Al Adam’ (maroon) with a broad white serrated band (nine white points or isosceles triangles) on the hoist side. The nine-pointed, serrated edges signify Qatar’s inclusion as the 9th member of the ‘reconciled Emirates’ of the Persian Gulf at the conclusion of the Qatari-British treaty in 1916.
Contrary to popular belief, the white and maroon colours of the Qatari flag do not represent peace and bloodshed during times of war. In fact, the ancestors of modern-day Qataris had been colouring their flags red for centuries, using a dye that originated from the Bin Ghannam Island near Al Khor. With prolonged exposure to the sun, the dye would fade and turn a purplish-red or maroon colour.
In April 1932, Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani was the first to adopt maroon-red as the colour of Qatar’s flag. During the reign of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s flag had nine points separated by diamond-shaped rhombus on the white side and the Arabic word “Qatar” emblazoned in white in the middle. The flag took its present shape in 1960 during the era of Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar at the time.
Qatar’s National Anthem, ‘As Salam al Amiri,’ was adopted in December 1996, shortly after the accession of His Highness (H.H.) The Amir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani (the former Amir and father of the current Amir H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani). It was written by Al Sheikh Mubarak bin Saif Al Thani and composed by Abdulaziz Nassir Al Ubaydan Al Fakhru, and first performed during a reception of the Gulf Cooperative Council leaders that was held in Qatar.
Qatar's national coat of arms contains four major elements: two swords, the jalboot, palm trees, and the sea. The two swords symbolize courage and strength. The Jalboot was the first traditional motor-powered boat that was used in pearl fishing trips and trade. The palm trees are inspired by the palm tree plantation of the Father Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani. The sea is one of the most important Qatari heritage symbols as this is where early Qatari once found their wealth and livelihood.
The font used is a modern script based on the original manuscripts written by the founder, Sheikh Jassim bin Muhammad bin Thani. The English calligraph is similarly inspired by Arabic calligraphy and hand movements. This font is called "Lusail" as the founder lived in Lusail from the 19th century and is where he ran the country's affairs.
Qatar’s National Day is celebrated every year on 18 December to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Qatar in 1878 by the late Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed bin Thani. The National day is an official holiday.
On 6 December 2011, the Amiri decision No. 80 of 2011 was issued regarding National Sport Day, stating that each Tuesday of the second week of February shall be Qatar National Sport Day, and that it shall be an official holiday, which the state shall celebrate every year.
Arabic is Qatar's national language, and most Qataris speak a dialect of Gulf Arabic similar to that spoken in surrounding states. Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools, and English is commonly used.
Islam is Qatar's national religion, and Qataris are largely Sunni Muslims. There is a small Shia minority. The non-Qatari population has a more diverse religious makeup, with Muslims, Christians, and Hindus comprising the largest religious groups.
The Thobe is the national attire for men in Qatar. It's a pristine white long robe-like clothing or tunic that covers the whole body from the wrists right down to the ankles. The top half of the Thobe is tailored like a shirt but reaches down to the ankle and is loose-fitting. A pair of loose white trousers called the Sirwal is always worn under the Thobe. The thobe has long been part of the culture of Qatar which has been preserved even today, by the young and the old alike.
For more information on the Qatari thobe, click on the following links:
On top of the Thobe, men in Qatar usually wear a loose headdress, called a ghitra, in white or red and white cloth, held on with a black rope known as the agal.
For more information about the ghitra, click on the following links:
The Abaya is the national attire for women in Qatar when they are out of the house. In Qatar and other parts of the Muslim world, the Abaya has become quite the norm as a representation of religious devotion and a symbol of the Arabian culture; it is mostly black in colour, though some colour variations can be seen amidst the all black. Since the Abaya is the only garment seen on those that wear it, with time, it has evolved into somewhat of a fashion statement as well, with many different designs and variations now available in the market. One thing remains the same though, at least in most cases: the purpose of the Abaya – to cover the body!
The Abaya is complemented with a headscarf called a Shayla or hijab. This is a scarf that’s tied around the head so no hair is visible. Some women also wear a niqab, which covers both the head and the face. It’s mostly a matter of personal choice or traditions.
For more information on the abaya, click on the following links:
The Qatari Riyal is Qatar's national currency. The currency code is QAR, and the abbreviation is QR. The Qatari Riyal is made up of 100 dirhams (coins). All Qatar notes and coins are issued by the Qatar Central Bank whose objectives include monetary stability and regulatory control of the currency.
The exchange rate of the Qatari Riyal (QR) against the US Dollar is fixed at QAR 3.64 per USD
For more information about Qatar's currency and the traditional symbols on the notes, click here: https://www.iloveqatar.net/guide/living/banks
The Arabian oryx is Qatar's proud national animal. Did you know the Arabian oryx, with its straight horns and triangular beauty spot on top of its nose, became extinct during the 1970s, but a continuing breeding programme reintroduced it back into its natural habitat in 1980? The species is now only vulnerable, which is a great achievement after near extinction, though it will still need time until it is not endangered at all.
The falcon is Qatar's national bird. In Qatar, there are 6 different kinds of falcons; the Amur falcon, Sooty falcon, Lanner falcon, Saker falcon, Peregrine falcon and the Barbary falcon. The falcon is a very important animal in Qatar as it had been used as a hunting tool because of its sharp eyesight, and is associated with being noble and wealthy. It is a popular pet, but has to be cared for appropriately and undergo intensive training.
The Sidra Tree is Qatar's national tree. This tree signifies a beacon of learning and comfort in the desert; it has, in the past, offered shade for poets and scholars who gathered under the tree to share their knowledge. It’s deep roots which are like an anchor link together contemporary learning and growth with Qatar’s cultural legacy and its traditions.
The element of the Sidra tree is a much loved and multi-faceted icon of the Qatari culture and rich heritage; it is part of QNCC’s landmark face and also the logo for Qatar Foundation. This native Qatari tree is nurtured in the harsh heat and dry climate of the country’s desert areas, especially towards its north and centre
H.H. Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, the Mother Amir and Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, talked about the Sidra Tree and its significance during a speech on 13 October 2003. This is what she had to say:
“The Sidra Tree, growing strong and proud in the harshest of environments, has been a symbol of perseverance and nourishment across the borders of the Arab world. What is the significance of this glorious tree? With its roots bound in the soil of this world and its branches reaching upwards toward perfection, it is a symbol of solidarity and determination; it reminds us that the goals of this world are not incompatible with the goals of the spirit.”
The Qataf is Qatar's national flower and grows along the country's coastal line. Qataf, also known as Lemonium or Sea Lavendar, has pink or lilac flowers that grow in clusters from a bright redbud and can be seen in Qatar from the months of March to May.
Machboos is Qatar's national dish. It's a rice-based dish that is prepared mostly with marinated pieces of lamb, chicken, or even seafood or vegetables. It may also have rose water or lemon juice sprinkled before serving to add extra flavour.
The Ardha sword dance is Qatar's national dance. It's is a folk dance, which dates back to the times when Bedouin tribes were predominant in Qatar and was performed just before a war or a fight. It is believed that this dance was named ‘Ardha’ because it was performed in historic times, to publicly show the fighting strength of a tribe before it went off to war, showcase weapons, and boost the morales of the tribe and their people. Today, it is most often performed to celebrate culture and heritage, show kinship and promote solidarity between the people of the country and its leadership.
For more information on the Ardha and how it's performed, click here: https://www.iloveqatar.net/guide/culture/ardha-qatars-traditional-sword-dance
Qatar Airways is Qatar's national airline. It's a 5-star airline that believes in pampering you with its exceptional services and an unparalleled travel experience throughout your journey on one of its modern and contemporary aircrafts to the more than 160 business and leisure destinations across the globe that are part of its routes. The onboard hospitality and service are world-class and, not only can you satisfy your appetite with their extraordinary food and entertain yourself from the 4,000 entertainment options available, you can just sit back, relax and let Qatar Airways do the rest!
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