Tuesday, December 17, 2013

National Day 2013 – Qatari Celebrations

Last night I was invited to one of the tribal tents set up for National Day. Have you heard of National Day Ceremonial Road? Neither had I. It is out in Rayyan, past Education City but before Rayyan Stadium (you can find it on Google maps). It's a huge road near the palace where Qataris set up massive tents to celebrate National Day. It is located near the main palace so that His Highness the Emir can easily visit the celebrations.

Here's the outside of the tent that I visited. It's actually more like a series of small tents surrounding a large open area. This was only one of 22 such areas that have been set up along the road. Don't be fooled by the lack of cars, they were all behind me in a massive impromptu parking lot -- there were a few hundred people there.

Inside were a group of singers and a large number of Qataris sword dancing, celebrating the holiday. Other men were standing around chatting, drinking tea or Arabic coffee, or sitting in chairs that ringed the area.

Not surprisingly the traffic was really bad and it took me around an hour to get out there. When I arrived my friend told me that His Highness the Emir and His Highness the Father Emir were here but had left about 20 minutes ago. Dang it, I missed seeing the Emir visiting.

You can still see the tents today and I'm willing to bet there will be celebrations on National Day Ceremonial Road well into the evening. If you think you can handle the traffic drive by and take a look at the tents.

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