WATCH: Tips to remember during Ramadan in Qatar
With just a few days to go until we enter the holy month of Ramadan, it is a fitting time for long-term residents as well as newcomers to the country to revisit and learn about some of the things that make Ramadan different in Qatar.
The 9th month in the Islamic Lunar Calendar, Ramadan is the month of fasting, which brings with it a spirit of increased religious devotion, restraint and compassion.
In Qatar, where you will experience a comparatively slower pace of life during Ramadan, you will also witness an amazing sense of community spirit reflected in the number of charity initiatives undertaken by the government, non-profit organizations, families and individuals.
Qatar Living has put together a few tips to help you navigate this month and make the most out of it:
Ramadan comes with shortened work hours in Qatar. As directed by the Ministry of Justice all public institutions follow a five-hour workday (usually from 9 am to 2 pm) during the holy month. Most private companies cut work hours short as well.
Opening times for banks, government offices and medical services may also be amended. Some businesses and offices may shut in the early afternoon, and open again in the late evening, so make sure to always check Ramadan opening times prior to your visit.
Get ready to experience traffic at unusual hours as the altered work hours bring about a change in traffic rush hours across the country.
You should expect heavy traffic just before sunset as most people are rushing to get home in time to break their fast.
Try to avoid making unnecessary journeys in the evening, from sunset until around 8:00pm. Take care and try to have greater empathy for other motorists.
photo credit: Peninsula Qatar
It is illegal to publicly consume food and drinks or smoke during the hours of fasting (sunrise to sunset) in Qatar.
The majority of restaurants and cafes remain closed during the day, however some may be open for takeaway orders.
For those who are not fasting, it is not illegal to eat in private buildings, and offices although it is advisable to do so in a private room as sign of respect and consideration for fellow individuals who may be fasting.
In order to truly enjoy Ramadan in Qatar, you can get yourself involved in a number of Ramadan activities that take place in the country through out the month.
Most of the malls and places like Katara, Aspire Zone and Souq Waqif usually hold Ramadan-specific events and activities that add to the overall experience of a joyful Ramadan.
Take this time as an opportunity to get involved and connect with the wider community!
Embrace the spirit of kindness and take part in the different charitable efforts taking place around town. You can feel the joy of giving by small acts such as preparing snack packs and toiletry care packages to hand out to laborers or helping out your kids to make Ramadan cards for their friends, family, or neighbors.
Keep an eye out for local events, such as Garangao and other Ramadan events organized by government organizations.
Immerse yourself in the unique experience of the month in Qatar by participating in the festivities, and feel part of the community.
There are a host of Ramadan tents featuring all kinds of buffets to enjoy during the month. It is also a great time to taste the Middle Eastern delicacies such as Lamb Ouzi. But be mindful, it's not all about feasting, so make sure you do not waste food.
The best advice we can give you is to ask questions if you are confused! Don’t hesitate to politely ask co-workers, neighbors or friends if you want to know anything about Ramadan. After all it is the time when we all can benefit from each other’s knowledge and enhance our understanding.
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Cover Image Credit: The Pearl Qatar
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