Tuesday, July 08, 2014
Ramadan 2014 – Day 8-9, Preparations for Eid
Despite the heat and humidity I was wandering around Souq Waqif last night. It was actually fairly crowded with the shops doing brisk business.
Eid al Fitr (a celebration for ending the fast at the end of Ramadan) is a major holiday to Muslims. As part of Eid one should wear either new or your best clothes so Qataris do a lot of shopping for new clothes during Ramadan. Tailors and clothing stores in the Souq were busy as many people were buying thobes, abayas, dresses and sandals.
Candy stores were also busy as people were buying candy in preparation for Garangao on the 14th night of Ramadan.
Talking with Qatari colleagues today I also learned of another Eid custom, giving money to your children and other young relatives. During Eid everyone visits all of their extended relatives and it is customary for adults to give some money to the children. In keeping with the spirit of things being new most Qataris will order brand-new bills from the banks in advance of the holiday. Since tens of thousands of people order new bills it can be a significant amount of money, the Central Bank makes sure they do a large printing of money in the run-up to the holiday.
At around 11:00pm I received a call from friends of mine to join them for sohour at the St. Regis Hotel. The late hour for the call didn't surprise me one bit, during Ramadan the main sohour meal is after the tarawih prayer, usually 9:30pm at the earliest. Many Qataris eat even later than that because the first prayer of the day (fajr) is around 3:30am, many just decide to have a late meal and stay up all night, going to sleep after the prayer.
So off I went to the St. Regis. This time I kept my stomach in check and didn't overeat, though I must admit the sushi was really nice and I had seconds of that. I also had a shisha, something I have maybe 2 or 3 times a year, but everyone in the hall was having one so I decided to spend the evening relaxing with a shisha. Despite it being a weekday we were there till around 2am. I wasn't that tired today, I had a two hour nap yesterday afternoon anyway so it was fine to get by on 5 hours sleep during the night.