The highlights of this year’s Eid al-Adha are “the largest-ever” celebrations being organised by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), in partnership with a number of local cultural and art institutions.
The celebrations which will continue until November 1 are taking place at locations including Katara, the Pearl-Qatar, the Museum of Islamic Art Park, Aquapark, Aspire and Souq Waqif. Games, contests, traditional Qatari feasts, art performances, fireworks, heritage exhibitions and concerts will form part of the activities.
The day began with Eid al-Adha prayers attended by thousands of faithful at mosques and prayer grounds across the country. Most Eid sermons focused on the importance of the occasion and how people should celebrate it with joy, remember hardships of people around the world as the case is in Syria, Palestine and Afghanistan and the hope that that they would attain peace and prosperity soon.
After the prayers, the worshippers wished each other Eid greetings and a blessed day. Those who planned to offer a sheep sacrifice, went to the slaughter house and distributed the meat to their relatives, friends, neighbours and the poor, to share the joy.
“Usually, after this is done, people have some broth and meat for breakfast. It would be really exhausting and exciting simultaneously, so people would prefer to relax for the rest of the morning,” said Ehab al-Azab, an Egyptian architect.
In the early afternoon, the main streets and roads were almost deserted as a majority of residents stayed back in their homes. Later in the day, families began to go out.
The Katara Esplanade was one of the popular destinations on account of the fireworks, which are scheduled to continue today and tomorrow at 8.15pm.
Other festivities in various locations including shopping malls include theatrical shows, small-scale music concerts, mini-exhibition of traditional Qatari foods, shows of traditional Qatari handicrafts, performances of Lebanese and African circus, break dance shows, magic shows and various other activities all free of charge and open to the public.
“The activities are varied and cater for all preferences, whether for young or old, indoor or outdoor. Doha, a city at its best during Eid, combines the traditional with the modern to provide joy for all its visitors,” said a visiting European tourist.
He was keen to pass through Doha and spend some time here especially at Eid to experience “a real portion of both the original Arab and Middle Eastern culture”.
Some of the expatriate bachelor workers preferred to spend Eid with their community members, which included a trip to the Sealine, Al Khor beach, Dukhan and other beaches.
“Eid is a good chance to relax and then go back to work refreshed,” said a young Asian worker.
Others preferred to spend most part of the day chatting online with their families and friends in their home countries.
“Even though, I could not be there in person, I sent some gifts and money to my family and relatives at home. Though small, it would make them happy and remember me as if I were there,” said a Nepalese taxi driver.
However, most shopping malls reported slump in sales yesterday as most people came there to enjoy the activities of Eid or to socialise rather than for shopping.
“We have anticipated this and it is the case every year as most people do their shopping prior to Eid. But a few days after Eid, sales return to normal,” said a marketing executive at one of the outlets.
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