By Wajeeha Malik
The Holy Month of Ramadan began on Saturday, May 27, 2017, which means that, once more, Qatar will prepare to embrace the changes that the month-long period of fasting brings. Whether you’ve spent Ramadan in Qatar already, or are new to the country, here are some changes the country experiences during this month:
Shorter Working Hours: If you’re a government employee, the official working hours will be five hours a day, from 9:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. For private companies and institutions, the working hours will be reduced to six, as stated by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs.
Shorter school hours: Students in government schools will be let off early and will leave school at 11:00 a.m., while timings for private schools depend on the school itself, but most schools do reduce their hours in consideration of this month of fasting.
Business hours for shops and malls: Due to the changed habits during this month, stores and shops adjust their timings, often opening later in the day and closing late at night after Iftar. Make sure to check the timings for stores here before you visit during Ramadan!
Eating and drinking in public: If you’re not fasting, you might want to be careful about eating food or drinking beverages in public, since you can be fined for doing so. Most eateries remain closed during the fasting period, which is from sunrise to sunset.
No alcohol: Restaurants and hotels that sell alcohol show respect for the Holy Month by going dry during this time, and you will not be able to purchase items for home consumption from Qatar Distribution Company, Doha’s licensed retailer, until Ramadan ends.
Modest attire: While dress codes in Qatar tend to be more conservative, it's especially important during the Holy Month of Ramadan to reflect your respect. This means shoulders should be covered, fabrics should not be transparent, skirts and pants should fall below the knee. For a simple guide to do's and don'ts when it comes to attire check out our In The Glow episode here.
Festivities: Sohour and Iftar, the times when fasting begins and ends each day, are celebrated with lavish buffets and delicious delicacies in many homes and restaurants. In addition, a lot of places organize festivals and activities during the month. A fun tradition to watch out for during the 14th night of Ramadan is the Middle Eastern Garangao celebration, where children dress up and collect sweets. Last year, Katara Cultural Village held a festival celebrating this day. And of course, there are the Eid Al-Fitr festivities to look forward to at the end of the month. This year, Eid is expected to be on June 25, 2017.
Offers and promotions in malls and stores: Many hypermarkets such as Carrefour and Al Meera offer special promotions to celebrate the month. Look out for ‘Ramadan Kareem’ signs in storefronts.
Do you have any points of interest about what changes during the Holy Month to add to this list? If so, drop us a line in the comments below and don’t forget to give us a like and a share – it keeps us going! Want more info on Ramadan in Qatar? Be sure to check out Ramadan.qa!
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