We’re only a few days away from Qatar National Day 2013, which will take place all over Qatar on 18 December 2013; and Qatar is all set!

According to the National Day Committee, this year’s Qatar National Day (QND) is the biggest one yet as it marks the first QND under the leadership of the HE The Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the 33-year-old son of the prior emir, HE The Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who decided to step down and transfer power to his son in June 2013. In addition, this year, for the first time, QND has a theme – One Love – which celebrates the multicuralism of Qatar’s population, which is home to over 2 million people from at least 180 countries.

According to the committee:

All are involved in this precious occasion with many programmes and events that reflect their love and loyalty to this great country. The expatriate communities have made remarkable contributions in their participation with natives on the joy of National Day. They express their devotion and love for the country…through multiple events that demonstrate this love-inspired performances absorbed from Qatari culture.

QND is a national commemoration of Qatar’s unification and independence and is celebrated on 18 December every year. The holiday was established by a 21 June 2007 decree of the Emir and Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. 18 December is the day Qatar commemorates the founding of the country on 18 December 1878.

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Already 14,000 seats have been placed in designated locations along the Corniche, which will be the venue for military parades and folk shows. (Don’t forget fireworks at the Corniche on QND at 10 pm sharp).

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is finalising an activities schedule that will bring Qatar alive during the National Day week from 15 to 19 December 2013. All the festivities are organised in collaboration with the National Day Committee, which is also the Platinum Sponsor for the day. All visitors and arrivals to Qatar at both the border posts and at Doha International Airport will receive a traditional Qatari welcome.

In addition, hotels are invited to fly the Qatari Flag in front of their hotels and distribute Qatari Flags inside their hotels in visible areas to tourists. Hotel staff will wear traditional Qatari national dress or Qatar National Day pins for the occasion, and female staff will wear Thoab Al Nashel. White and burgundy balloons will also be displayed in hotel entrances and reception areas and traditional Qatari food and dishes will be put on main course menus for the day.

QTA has also staged the Qatar National Day competition for the best decorated hotel front, which is open to all hotels in Qatar. This competition will put the spotlight on Qatar’s iconic building designs and contemporary architecture.  Hotels are invited to take part to lend some stylish elegance to the occasion and add to the spirit of the celebration. The winning hotel and runner up will be presented with a substantial prize.

The Abu Samra Border Post will also be decorated by QTA with patriotic motifs and volunteers will be appointed to distribute Qatari flags, pins and promotional items to guests entering Qatar at the post. QTA is planning to make this year’s celebrations the best ever by reaching out to every visitor to Qatar. Volunteers representing QTA will be waiting for visitors with gifts and flags as well as the warm Arabian hospitality. QTA want tourists to appreciate Qatar’s heritage at its finest and make it an occasion for all who live and work in Qatar. At Doha International Airport (DIA), QTA is planning a special tourism booth in the Arrivals terminal where volunteers will give away national flags, National Day pins, maps and other promotional items to everyone arriving in Doha on the day. A traditional Qatari tent will offer Arabic coffee and dates, reflecting the country’s hospitality.


Here is what’s going on in Doha, Qatar on QND 2013:

Doha Corniche

National Day Parade – audience required to be present before 7 am.

Qatar’s Past station – Al Bidda Promontory: Dhow exhibition and activities on 15 December 2013 from 4 pm – 10 pm, on 16 – 17 December 2013 from 8 am – noon and 3:30 pm – 10 pm, and on 18 December 2013, 10 am – noon and 3:30 pm – 10 pm.

Modern Qatar station – Ory Jetty: Modern Qatar and classic car exhibition, kids painting activities on 15 December 2013 from 4 pm – 10 pm, on 16 – 17 December 2013 from 8 am – noon and 3:30 pm – 10 pm, and on 18 December 2013, 10 am – noon and 3:30 pm – 10 pm.

Qatar’s Future station – Sheraton Park: Future exhibition and kids cinema on 15 December 2013 from 4 pm – 10 pm, on 16 – 17 December 2013 from 8 am – noon and 3:30 pm – 10 pm, and on 18 December 2013, 10 am – noon and 3:30 pm – 10 pm.

Lighting Display on 15 – 17 December 2013 from 6 pm – 10 pm and 18 December 2013 from 6 pm – 9:30 pm.

Fireworks on 18 December from 10 pm – 10:10 pm.

Bus schedule on 18 December from all parking areas to the Corniche and back 5:30 am – 7:30 am and 10 am – noon.

Shuttle service between the Corniche stations ‘Future Train’ and Dhows on 15 December from 4:30 pm – 10 pm, on 16 – 17 December from 8 am – 10 pm and on 18 December from 10 am – 10 pm.


Katara Cultural Village

On the occasion of the QND celebrations, the Cultural Village Foundation (Katara) invites the public to join these festivities and enjoy the happenings in Katara from 18 to 19 December 2013, featuring 20 events inspired by the Qatari heritage to recognise their present and explore horizons of their future. In the occasion of QND, on 16 December 2013, the State of Qatar will present the ‘Flag of Gratitude & Loyality‘ to Guinness Book of Records the largest flag in the world. In addition, Katara Art Studios has coordinated a Community Photography Installation project called ‘Our Qatar’ in which Katara Cultural Village is inviting all those living, working and visiting Qatar to submit one photo that expresses the way they feel about Qatar and their life in the country.


Darb Al Saai Camp

Darb al Saai Camp continues its preparations at its new location, near the February 22 Road and behind Amna bin Wahb Secondary School to celebrate the National Day. It will organise a number of events. The camp will offer many programmes highlighting the country’s heritage and history. The camp activities are aimed at promoting loyalty to and solidarity with the country. QTA will also participate in Darb Al Saai at its tent with traditional Arabic coffee and dates on offer to reflect the country’s heritage. In addition, there will be eight tourist information desks along the Corniche, one of which will feature a large screen that will display responses to the ‘My Qatar’ public initiative campaign that ran in October 2013 asking the people ‘What is the one thing you would like to tell visitors to Qatar?’


The Pearl-Qatar

The Pearl-Qatar, Doha’s luxurious island development, will host a variety of unforgettable events reflecting Qatar’s proud traditions from December 16 to 18 in celebration of Qatar National Day. These events will not only showcase Qatari patriotism, but will also familiarise non-Qatari citizens with the local culture through the traditional ‘Al Arda’ dance and falcon display. Qatar’s spirit of warm hospitality will shine through as the welcoming smell of hot coffee accompanied by delectable dates from some of Qatar’s very own farms beckon visitors to stop by in one of the many welcoming tents.

This year’s festivities will be highlighted by high-tech tower and water screen projections. Families and friends should prepare their warm tea and blankets to enjoy the fireworks as the skies light up with all things Qatar.

Children of all ages will also engage in a fun-filled three days including an enjoyable Dora show, entertaining cartoon characters and comical clowns. Everyone’s favorite inflatable games, face painting and much more will be on the menu as Qatar shares its happiness with its young citizens.


Souq Waqif

Shops and streets of the Souq Waqif have been decked up with Qatari flags and photos of the HH The Emir and HE The Father Emir. QND celebrations inside the Souq include traditional dance and music performances; and a short walk from the souq, you can enjoy the QND firework display on the Corniche. Alternatively, stay embraced by Souq Waqif’s charms and book a table at Al Matbakh Rooftop Grill at Arumaila for lively music and spectacular views over the Corniche and city skyline; or Al Jomrok’s rooftop lounge, where the relaxing lounge music completes the Arabesque experience and is a memorable way to mark the National Day celebrations.


Doha Film Institute (DFI)

To celebrate the day, DFI with the National Day Committee, will be holding a series of events and activities including an ‘Instagram Photo Competition’ to capture photos of Qatar’s National Day celebrations; a 48-Hour Film Challenge, an initiative to get teams from Qatar scripting, shooting, and editing a film and telling their story.

The films from the 48-Hour Film Challenge will be posted on Youtube and two winners will be selected – one based on most “likes” and the other judged by a Doha Film Institute committee. The activities also include ‘The Movie Experience’, where participants will get the chance to make their very own film posters against a green screen, and ‘Black Box’ where Instagram photos can be printed in classic fashion.

In addition to the activities, a selection of the ‘Made In Qatar’ films will be showcased at the stand with an opportunity to have a Q&A with the filmmakers themselves. On 18 December, DFI will present a special screening of the new animation film ‘Abtal w Mahama’ (Heroes and a Mission), a National Day Committee project and executed by Al Rayyan Productions, at Katara Drama theatre, The Cultural Village Katara. There will be three screenings, 3 pm, 5 pm and 8 pm. The film ‘Abtal w Mahama’ (Heroes and a mission) will be screened on Qatar TV and Al-Rayyan Channel.


School Programmes

Under the theme of this year’s QND, One Love, at least 10 expatriate schools are participating in the programmes of QND. Based on the close relationship between citizens and residents, the Committee of Associated Programs for Qatar National Day Celebration is organising extensive colorful cultural and entrainment programmes and sports activities at various venues outside Doha providing alternative locations to enjoy National Day celebrations in a family atmosphere. The programmes will be held in cooperation with expatriate communities living in Qatar and foreign schools thus providing an opportunity for them to express their love to Qatar while embodying state’s care for them in national day celebration. On 18 December, Al Wakra Club, Al Khor Club, Al Rayyan Club and West End Park have a set of cultural performances set for the public. At West End Park, the Indian schools MES Indian School, Pak Shama, Sri Lankan School and Nobel International will present their cultural programmes. Presenting at Al Khor Club are Birla Public School, Bright Future Paksitani, Ideal Indian School and Shanti Niketan Indian School. At Al Rayyan Club, Philippines School Doha, Philippines International School, Scholars International  School and Doha Modern Indian School will present their cultural programmes as well. Presenting at Wakra club are PEC Pakistani, Bangladesh School, Bhavans School and DPS-MIS Indian School. The cultural and sports events themed ‘one love’ will be offering a day full of entertainment, amusement and activities for the residents and workers on 18 where the programme will start with National Anthem at 8 am and continue until 10 pm.

For more information, check out Marhaba’s post Four Mega Cultural Events on Qatar National Day 2013.


West End Park

The open theater and adjacent areas in West End Park of Industrial Area is ready to entertain thousands of families and single workers on Qatar National Day as part of associated programs for National Day Celebrations 2013. The West End Park open theater and cricket stadium will become a venue of festive celebration, entertainment and fun on 18 December 2013.

For more information, check Marhaba’s post West End Park to Entertain Thousands on National Day


Hamad Bin Khalifa University

Doha Drawathon 2013 Exhibition
20 November – 17 December 2013 at the HBKU Student Center Art Gallery

InstaArt Wall #celebratingqatar
22 November – 17 December 2013 at the HBKU Student Center Art Gallery

Qatar Photographic Society Photo Exhibition
22 November – 17 December 2013 at the HBKU Student Center Hallway

Arda ‘Sword Dance’, Traditional Food & Henna
5 December 2013: 11:30 am – 2 pm at the HBKU Student Center Hallway and Majlis

QFIS Documentary Film on Qatar, Traditional Ardah and Special Guest Vice President, Dr Ali bin Futais Al Marri
16 December 2013: 11 am – 2 pm Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies

The Cake Social
17 December 2013: 12 pm – 1 pm at the HBKU Student Center Majlis

Cultural Activities
17 December 2013: 9 am – 2 pm at the Tent at HBKU Student Center


Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels – Al Jomrok Rooftop Terrace

Experience National Day 2013 at Al Jomrok Boutique Hotel’s rooftop terrace. Enjoy a Qatari inspired buffet on 18 December starting at 6 pm and celebrate the tradition and history of Qatar with a spectacular view of Corniche. 

Price: QR 180 per adult (limited seating)

For more information or reservations, contact 4433 6666.


Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel

During the QND, Grand Hyatt Doha will be offering a 50% discount at all the restaurants for food and soft beverages. A buffet will be served at The Grill exclusively for QR250 including soft beverages throughout the entire day.

For more information or reservations, contact 4448 1234.


Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel

Al Shaheen Restaurant/Al Ghazaal Room

International and Oriental Buffet

Offering Selection of International dishes and Oriental specialties with live pasta station and saj bread. Price includes soft drinks, water, juices tea and coffee. Ladies wear traditional Arabian dress men regular Arabic shirt and black trousers. For Children, there will be cotton Candy Station, Clown, Face painting and Balloon twisting.

Price: Adult – QR280 person. Children aged 6-12 – QR140.

La Veranda Restaurant

Italian and Oriental Buffet

La Veranda will be offering two buffets presenting on one hand the best of Mediterranean/Italian cuisine and on the other Oriental specialties. Grill station with fresh fish and meat. Live pasta cooking station. Price includes soft drinks, water, juices tea and coffee. There will be for children. Bouncy Castle, Face painting and Balloon twisting. Ladies will wear traditional Arabian dress, men wearing Arabic outfit. The decoration will include Qatar flags in the entrance, purple flowers on the tables. Live entertainment by pianist and DJ performing mix of Arabic and European tunes.

Price: Adult – QR290. Children aged 6-12 – QR145.

Sheraton Pool Bar Area

Sheraton Pool Bar Area will be serving Charcoal grill with selection of meat and fish and easy-to-eat side dish buffet including fresh salads. Softdrink, water and juice bar serving signature refreshing fruit concoctions.

Price: Adult – QR190. Children aged 6-12 – QR90.

Ginan Room

A selection of canapés will be passed around alongside mocktails and soft drinks as punters enjoy traditional national day music via the sound system.

Price: QR80 per person and QR40 per child (six-12). Kids under six can enjoy it all for free.

For more information or reservations, contact 4485 4444.


InterContinental Doha

The lobby at this stalwart hotel will be transformed and offering special cake and Arabic coffee to market QND. Following this, a special Qatari traditional buffet will take place at Coral Restaurant.

Time: 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Price: QR175 per person

For more information or reservations, contact 4484 4444.


Crowne Plaza Doha – The Business Park

Aramede Restaurant

Celebrate the QND at Aramede with a traditional Qatari buffet along with traditional Arabic pipe music.

Time: 2:30 pm – 4 pm

Price: QR150 per adult. QR75QR per child (6-12 years) including juices, local mineral water and soft drinks. Children under six years dine free-of-charge.

For more information or reservations, contact 4408 7777.


Wyndham Grand Regency Doha

Grand Gourmet

From 15 to 21 December 2013, will be serving authentic Arabic cuisine with traditional Qatari dishes and an array of Arabic sweets. Head over all week to indulge in this international all-day dining spot, on the big day, 18 December, a special Qatari traditional food buffet will be on offer.

Time: 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm

Price: QR169 per person

For more information or reservations, contact 4434 3203.


Sharq Village & Spa

Sharq Village and Spa joins in the festivities with a special decoration themed in the Colours of the national flag. From the moment guests enter the hotel, they will be greeted by the ladies and gentlemen who will be dressed in the traditional Qatari national “Thoab” and “Nashl”, and served coffee in the true sense of Qatari hospitality.

On 16 December 2013 Sharq Village and Spa will be organizing  a Cake Cutting Ceremony for  guests where the hotel will showcase the heritage of this country by inviting a Qatari folklore Band, falcon man, henna lady to make it a memorable celebration for the locals, as well as hotel guests, and  residents.

The culinary brigade will extend an unadulterated Khalliji dining experience to hotel residents during this celebration. Chef Hassan Abdallah executive chef at Sharq Village and Spa will offer a selection of Qatari dishes in Al Liwan the hotel All-day dining, while Stephen Espouy executive pastry chef will be presenting a delectable display of pastries designed to reflect this precious occasion at Al Jalsa lounge.

Finally, Sharq Village and Spa is one of the best vantage points to view the spectacular fireworks as well as water and light shows throughout the evening along the Corniche.

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Qatar National Day Warnings

QND cars
Photo credit: Fahad Al Ansari

During QND, the youth are tempted to flow on the roads with the most highly decorated cars to participate in the march on the Corniche. However, according to the Traffic Department, this expression of joy can sometimes go out of control and lead to the violation of traffic law. Therefore, the Traffic Department has enlisted the following behaviours as traffic violations, which threaten the safety of traffic during the celebration:

  • To place pictures, posters and flags on the entire car bodies that would completely change the colour of the car.
  • Shading the windshield and rear windows of the car, which prevents the driver from viewing the road.
  • To place decorations that hide the car plates.
  • To climb on the roofs of cars and the engine cover; or to get out of the car’s windows and sunroof, leading the passengers to the risk of falling down, over and above the car.
  • Blocking traffic and parking in no parking zones.

In order to celebrate QND safely and securely, the traffic department calls upon all male and female motorists to be vigilant and keep their commitment to the traffic rules by keeping away from traffic violations that may threaten the safety of road users on the occasion.


Author: Ola Diab