All About Qatar National Day – A day to feel pride

Qatar is building on the number of events to celebrate National Day year on year. There are a number of huge milestones and events that have lead up to this as well. Qatar’s definitely in the spotlight thanks to mega event after event (World Cup, COP18, Arab Spring involvement, Katara expansions, etc… etc…) and Doha will continue to shine bright as long as changes keep happening.

Why are Qataris so proud? Well we haven’t had that much to be proud of for a long time. Our Emir has brought so much change and development to Qatar that it’s something to almost brag about. A typical Qatari will gladly sacrifice a lot for his country. The Emir has done so much to make our lives better, so why don’t we lift the burden off of his shoulders a bit and try to help?

So whether you’re Qatari, American, British, Indian, Philipino, Japanese, Korean, Lebanese, Pakistani, Chinese or any other nationality (let’s face it, Qatar is a melting pot of diversity), please celebrate National Day with us! Let happiness flow through you like a rush of energy. Think positive and have hope for a fantastic future. Think of each firework that goes off on December 18 as the sound of the country’s heartbeat. WE are Qatar.

One common question I’m asked is how is it that Qatar changed National Day’s date? It never changed. They’re thinking of Independence day, which is on the 3rd of September. Here’s some more info about National Day (from QatarNationalDay.qa):

On 18 December 1878, Sheikh Jassem bin Mohamed bin Thani succeeded his father as the ruler of Qatar. With that, Qatar became a country with a vision… a country that would find unity, grow rapidly, and reach toward ever higher heights.

National Day, also known as Founder’s Day, celebrates the rise of Sheikh Jassem as the father and founder of the State of Qatar. And yet this holiday is a mere two years old: it was founded in 2007 to give people an occasion to honour the history and identity of their country, and to commemorate those who have worked and continue to work to make Qatar a great nation.

The 18th of December is a special day – a day of unity for the people of Qatar. We want you to be a part of it!

This year, the country is making an extra effort to thank the expat community here too for all their hard work to make Qatar a better place :)

We’re working hard on www.qatarnationalday.qa again this year (5th year now?) so you can find all the events and great content for National Day.  Until then we’ve got a temporary list going, click here for Qatar National Day event list 2013

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Have an event or activity you want to make sure is listed? Drop the team an email at contact@iloveqatar.net


Get a 10% discount on tickets to Dralion by Cirque Du Soleil in Qatar!

 

Alright everyone, here’s a nice supruise for all you ajeeb ILQers. If you’re interested in attending Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion, you can now get a 10% discount on tickets! Like the thought of that? Want to know more I hear you say?

Here’s what you need to do!

  1. Go to the Dralion ticketing website www.cirquedusoleil.qa
  2. Click on the ‘BUY; button
  3. Choose the date/seats
  4. Review your purchase and click ‘Continue’
  5. Type in the discount code “ILQ” (has to be all caps)
  6. One you apply the code the price will change and the green check mark will appear. And that’s it!

Want to find out more information about these great event? Click here for timings, the flyer, and details.
Oh and incase you didn’t know the event has been extended too! It now ends on the 28th.

Ramadan Mubarak everyone! (We’ve got Tents, Events, and more!) – Ramadan 2013

Ramadan Mubarak! Mubarik Alaykum il shahar.

I hope that everyone has a great Ramadan period, and whether you are Muslim or not, there’s a lot to do in Qatar during this time.

www.ramadan.qa (also accessed at www.Ramadan-Mubarak.com) has launched and it’s even bigger and better than last year’s effort.

Three years ago, we launched a real first…our site got lots of attention by helping people find out about all the wonderful things happening during Ramadan in Qatar. So we had a challenge: How do we take what we did and make it even MORE useful year on year? This year we’ve partnered up with Vodafone again as well as got some support from Katara and QF Radio!

The beauty of www.ramadan.qa is that it’s so simple. Not only is it easy to navigate but there are some great features!

We’re Mobile & Appified!
It only made sense to create a mobile version of the site. The next evolution was to launch an App for iOS and Android. We’re almost there! We took www.ramadan.qa and shrunk the site into a useful mobile tool. It looks and feels like an app as well for those that don’t want to download the app! So get tap-tap-tapping on your smartphones! Don’t have one? Don’t worry, the mobile version works on most devices! :)  Oh and if you’re a Vodafone customer, it’s free to visit the site!

We’ve got an app for that!
Whether you are on the site or on your mobile, we’ve got a list of great Ramadan-related apps to download. We’ve listed apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberries, AND we’ve added OVI support. Just click your favourite app’s icon to download!

We’re Dynamic!
The website’s background changes depending on the time of day.
☾ In the morning the sky is dim and a sun rises
☾ During the day the sun shines bright, birds fly around and the wind gently sways the hanging lanterns
☾ For sunset—and because it’s so rare for us to enjoy a beautiful one in real life—our site’s sunset begins 15 minutes before night, so if you’re lucky enough to be on our website at exactly the right time you’ll see a brilliant orange sky.
☾ When it’s time to break your fast, the moon pops out, the lanterns light up, and the stars twinkle.
☾ We’ve also got some fun messages that pop up while you’re on the site. “Whoa, it’s hot outside!”

Why is this special?
Because it’s a fun way of letting people know when its time to break their fast! Don’t have a calendar? Have a calendar but don’t know what time it is? Just visit the site and if you see the moon, you can break your fast. It’s also a tool for kids!

We’re social!
☾ Sharing is caring:
You’ll notice Twitter, Facebook, the ‘Like’ button, and the new Google +1 button on the site. So sharing the site is extremely simple! Go ahead! Click on our LIKE and +1 buttons.
☾ Tents and Events:
-During Ramadan many people meet up at night at various tents and events to be together and socialize. If you’re looking for a calendar of events, then our site is here for you. Our calendar will constantly be updated as we get wind of more events!
-Last year people asked for more events besides simply the ones at hotels, and so we’re working hard to get as much as possible on there! Got an event yourself? Let us know so we can add it to the site!

Send an eCard!
We’ve created some very nice and colorful Ramadan cards for you to send out to family and friends. All you need to do is select your image, type in your message, position the message so that it’s in just the right spot, and click send!
Love the card? You can save it in MMS format so that you can transfer it to your mobile and send it to anyone through your mobile!
Don’t see an image you like? You can upload your OWN image and send it out as an ecard!
We love choices!

Ramadan 101
We know that some people might not know what Ramadan is all about, so we’ve included an “About Ramadan” tab on the site. If you want to brush up on your understanding of Ramadan, then visit this section for: when it is, what it’s about, dates and times, tips about eating, drinking and smoking, dress code, and other special considerations.

Convenient Prayer and Iftar times!
We’ve tried to make your life as easy as possible when it comes to knowing when to pray and when to break your fast.
☾ We’ve got a full Ramadan calendar on our site
☾ You can download the calendar to your phone or desktop
☾ You can register to receive SMS notifications
☾ You can pick up a pocket calendar in store
Prayers, Quran Verses, and Tips Via SMS

As a new addition this year, Vodafone customers can also subscribe to receive daily prayers and verses from the Quran, audio clips, tips and recipes during the holy month of Ramadan.

Hilal: Receive a prayer, hadith, oandDua.
Text 1 to 97244 to receive this package every day for a month for only QR20

Badir: Receive a prayer, hadith, dua, and an audio file.
Text 2 to 97244 to receive this package every day for a month for only QR30

Sihatik: Receive a daily health tip for FREE.
Text Sihatik to 97799 to receive this message every day for a month for FREE.



A quick tour of IKEA (and sleeping in beds)

I went on down to check out Ikea qatar at Doha Festival City and decided to vlog it (and sleep in their bed too.)

I thought it would be nice for you to see what IKEA is like since so many people are talking about the place.

Don’t forget to Thumbs Up, Comment, and Subscribe :)
Then I know if you’ve liked it!

If you REALLY REALLY like it then please share it too!

Take care all,
Mr. Q (Your friendly neighbourhood Qatari)

Violin Dreams in Qatar – A short story

I know I’ve been posting loads of videos, but that’s what I want see more of! Would love to see more Vloggers here in Qatar!
Alex Klim (@alexklim) is an ILQ user and he’s been making some great YouTube videos and inshallah many more for the iLoveQatar community too!

This vid was shot on a single Canon 7D, Editing, Color Grading & SoundFX done in FCPX.

It features Nina Heidenreich, Principal Second Violinist at Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. The short movie is a modern fairy tale about a young girl passing by a Music Store, getting attracted by a violin and falling into a dream, seeing herself as a talented violinist. Shot at several locations in and around Doha, State of Qatar, including the Cultural Village, The Pearl-Qatar, The Villagio Mall, Inland Sea and the Steinway Piano Gallery Qatar. Jules Massenet’s ‘Meditation’ from the Opera Thais serves as the main theme.

Nice? Think you can do better? Send your videos to contact@iloveqatar.net

Didn’t we already have an Eid this year?

Quite a few people asked me “Didn’t we already have an Eid?” and it dawned on me that this might be a good time to explain the two Eids (Eid means celebration) that we have a year. The first one happens right after Ramadan. It’s called Eid Al Fitr which is translated as the Celebration of Breaking Fast. It’s a national holiday, shops will usually decorate for Eid, and family and friends gather together. Everyone dresses up in their best clothes and the kids go out singing songs and getting Eidiya (candy or money).

The second Eid is Eid Al Adha. Translated, it means the Celebration of Sacrafice. It’s also known as the Big Eid. The reason why this is such an important Eid is because this is the one that began the construction of Kaaba (the Black Square in Mecca). This is celebrated in the same way as Eid Al Fitr.

Here’s an interesting fact, in Malta, Easter is called Eid. (I thought that was quite cool).

Anyway! There’s going to be some great festivities, especially at Katara! Between 7:30pm and 10pm you’ll be able to enjoy Fireworks, Dancing Fountains, a light show, and laser show! Be sure to take your family and friends :)

So, now that you know that we’ve got two Eids, here are other blog posts which you might be interested in :)

A Qatari’s Eid

It’s almost Eid

Merry Eidmas

Oh and remember, in Qatar, a typical greeting is ‘Eidkum Mubarak, wa asakum min awadah’. Would love to hear more people say it :)

 

Traditions of Eid from QTV – Qatari song :)

All the stuff ILQ is sponsoring these coming months!

Hey there everyone, I thought I’d take the time to go ahead and update you all on what I’ve got iLoveQatar sponsoring these next few months. For those that don’t know, ILQ spends profit made off of any advert banners you see on charitable causes and to support the local community. The goal at the end of the day is simple, to make Qatar a better place! Somewhere that everyone can be proud of :)

Filipino Movie for Tribeca Film Festival

A bunch of guys from the Filipino community put together a great Filipino film as a submission for the Tribeca Film Festival. When they got into a bit of a jam and needed some support, ILQ jumped in to help them finish the project. This is Qatar’s first Filipino movie and we’re proud to have supported Global Pinoys and to be a part of another great first :)

It’s called “I Love You Maam”, a story about a girl who fell in love with her teacher back in college. Two years later they meet up again, in Doha… In the same school… Both as teachers… That’s when things get complicated. My favourite scene is when they’re surfing ILQ :P

Trailer - http://iloveyoumaam.com/

 

Ministry of Sound World Tour

Global DJ’s contacted ILQ to help support their latest event. This time the Ministry of Sound decided that they’re stopping by Doha as part of their World Tour on the 29th of September at the Intercon Beach. I don’t really like simply sponsoring a project with funding. I think that it’s a bit… cold, so I prefer helping to ‘activate’ an event. We help get the word out, provide some gifts, fun giveaways, I(Heart)Qatar shirts and stickers, take photos, and of course no party would be complete without some ILQ beachballs thrown into the crowd. I’ll be giving away some FREE tickets! So stay tuned! More information here.

 

QSports

Now these guys are doing something that I’ve been waiting for, for ages. Not only is QSports supported by the Qatar Olympic Committee but they’re now supported by ILQ as well. We’ll be sponsoring teams who can’t afford basic entry fees or uniforms on a case by case basis :) Interested? Registrations is FREE. So what do they do? They organize sports tournaments that you can register to be a part of. Want to play football and don’t know where to go or even have enough players for example? QSports solves that!

They’re still looking for more sponsors in case you work for a company that might be interested! Visit qsportsleagues.com for more information or to sign up!

They’ll also be posting their latest events and sports related news in the Sports sections of our forums :)

 

Evo Sports Academy’s Super Sports Day

This one’s thanks to Bassam. Evo Sports Academy decided that they wanted to get people active in Qatar. They went to Bassam with a mission; they wanted to help youngsters in Qatar pick a sport they’re good at, perhaps one that they never thought of trying before. Bassam gave the Evo Sports team an excited grin and we were in. Imagine! Helping people live a more active and healthy life-style! Oh and did we mention that it’s free? Yep! 6-16 year olds can enjoy football, basketball, netball, dance, and karate! Just come on down to the Doha Rugby Club on Saturday September 17th from 9am to 2pm. There’ll be coaching sessions, live DJ, BBQ, giveaways, competitions, and a bouncy castle too! Oh and if you go on down, you can probably get a free sports shirts with the ILQ logo on it too! Visit www.evosportsqatar.com for more.

 

Qatar Investors Window

The team over at UCI International contacted us and let us know that they were organizing a partnership with the Qatari Businessmen Association. Their focus is to showcase investment opportunities Qatar has to offer, bringing potential investors to the region to share knowledge and discuss valuable business opportunities. Since winning the 2022 World Cup, there’s definately going to be a lot of people that get attracted to Qatar. It’s exciting to think about all of the change that’s going to happen in the coming years. We’re their supporting partners and as such I think I should it would be best to give you the more information don’t you think? It’s on the 21st of November at the Grand Hyatt and one their keynote speaker is James Caan, the CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw and one of the Dragons from BBC’s Dragons’ Den. Did you know that Peter Jones from the Dragons’ Den is also a partner of mine? More information at www.uciinternational.com

 

Humanisation of Cities of Tomorrow

We partnered up with Naseba many times in the past. We think we make a good team actually. Last year, ILQ also supported this event and we got a standing ovation since Bassam was a speaker. So what’s it all about? Well on October 4th and 5th, global city leaders, ministries and influential people will get together and share their insights and thoughts as to how we can all work together to build a better future. There’ll be different pavilions under different themes “Knowledge”, “Urban”, “Power”, “Well-being”, “Hospitality”, “Green” and “Infrastructure. I’m very excited about the summit and hope that some great change will come out of this. One of the things that Bassam and I often talk about is encouraging future businesses to focus on partnership models and coopetition. More info at www.cityhumanisation.com

 

 

Green Programme for Schools

I’m going to start to start this off by saying… I’m disappointed… This is a fantastic cause. The goal of GPS is to educate children in schools as to the importance of taking care of the environment. Sounds like a great cause right? Well why haven’t many people ‘liked’ their facebook page then? Look, it takes two seconds and it shows them that you care! Go on visit http://www.facebook.com/GPSQatar I’ll wait…. I’m waiting….. Done? Hope so!

 

Inshallah partnering and sponsoring these different events makes Qatar a better place. What do you guys think? Good job?

Ramadan Kareem Everyone! Here’s a quick 101

Ramadan Kareem Qatar! I hope that people will have a great experience of Ramadan this year.

If you’re interested in reading up a bit, then be sure to check out these threads and posts:

Ramadan in a nutshell

Ramadan isn’t just for Muslims

Luxurious Ramadan

Saying Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan Opening Hours Guide 2010

Garangao – A Child’s Dream (The 14th day of Ramadan)

ILQ (partnered with Vodafone, Katara, and QF Radio) will be launching a fantastic new Ramadan site this year. It’ll contain a great events guide, a ramadan 101 guide, prayer times, special apps, and e-cards!

That’s not all! This time we’ve also got a MOBILE version and to make sure you don’t miss QF Radio’s 8pm show, an ‘on air’ button will light up!

The Qatar Marine Festival is fantastic

Oh great, another “Festival” in Qatar, I thought to myself. I’m tired of seeing huge advertisements for events and then heading on over only to be disappointed by poor crowd control or the fact that there aren’t really any festivities at all. That being said, I was never more happier to be proven wrong. I drove through a giant ship’s helm at the East Gate of Katara (that’s just been opened. It’s where Aladdin’s Kingdom used to be) and was ushered through to the car park. I was happy with the fact that even though we were parking on sand, they cleared out the rocks and tried to make the parking lot a ‘real’ parking lot.

I walked on through passed the VIP tent and loved hearing the old Qatari sea chants on speakers and the tiny old traditional huts set up on the left. In front of me was a building shaped like a Dhow, some young staff sadly were more interested in chatting amongst themselves than guiding visitors sadly. Entering, I realized that it was like a museum, complete with a cave-like interior, glass tanks with sharks, hanging giant purple jellyfish and some interactive stations too.

I passed by one area where a kind guide asked me if I wanted to see something cool. I felt like I was being let in on a secret. He pulls out this giant armored crab. He tried to get me to carry it for a while and although kind of intimidated, I acted cool and said I was fine. I had to pull the “I don’t want my thobe to get dirty” line. It was either that or hike it up and run like a girl! After seeing how harmless it was (especially how it ran on the ground like a remote control car) I knocked on its shell. Oh yeah! That’s one point for the human and IN YO FACE for the crab.

Exiting the boat, I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to be going so I just followed the brick road. To my left was a childrens area, where you can find games, a live show, and some great educational.. umm.. fun stuff (alright my vocabulary isn’t excellent!). To my right was a sealions pool. That’s where we get to see some great tricks from one of the seas smartest animals. I wonder where they brought them in from?

Now THIS is the part that made me go wow. It involves Pearls, mermaids, oil, robots, bouncing animals, and lots of dancing.

Walking on down further there was a giant stage that we were guided into. I sat down and waited for a show to start. Bare in mind that I was kind of confused and didn’t know what to expect. Under my seat was a bag that had a gold colored metal helm and a few guides. I wrapped my ghitra around my neck to keep warm. The wind was blowing strong and the weather was getting quite cold.

After a few introductions we’re told that we’re going to watch “Secrets of the Sea” and the lights fade out. Now this is a bit of a spoiler so scroll down if you don’t want to know what happens! Disney-esque music starts and we embark on the journey of Qatar’s history. It’s about a young girl who’s being told a story about Qatar’s development and how the country went from an uneducated poor country to a society that survived on pearl diving to the discovery of oil to the focus on education. It was a beautiful story and I loved it. Be warned though, parts are in arabic and there isn’t any translation, but I believe that they did such a great job that whether there was translation or not, people will understand it all.

I loved the use of colors, imagery and when it came up to the discovery of oil part, I loved how a woman’s long flowing abaya represented the flow of oil. Throughout the whole show as well, you’ll notice that the quality of the dancers clothes improves to represent how the country gradually became richer.

You know what? I’ll end it at that. I don’t want to ruin too much of the story, especially since I’ll be uploading some snippets of videos soon.

So what’s there besides the show? There’s seals shows, ball games, beach football, a carnival (parade at the venue!), animation and scientific workshops, a visual arts symposium, sailing and rowing classes, a dancing fountain, raffle draws, puppet shows, marine magic, feature films, I’m getting tired just writing all this stuff down! Do yourself a favour.. check out the Qatar Marine Festival’s schedule here. It ends on the 26th so you better hurry up!

It’s a great festival and whats even more amazing is that its all free. Thank you Qatar for doing something so great for everyone in Qatar.
If you’ve been a part of putting together the QMF, drop me a note and let me know. I’d like to include the names of the people/companies that helped out because I’m so proud of the hard-work put into this.

View more pictures here

View videos here on our Youtube channel.

Loads going on! I’m going to the Qatar Food Festival :)

I’m sorry for not posting an article in quite a while but there’s just been loads going on! (Of course if you’ve been following the events section you’ll know that already).

We’ve got the circus in town at Souq Wagif, the jewelry exhibition that just ended, we’ve reached the end of the Spring Festival in the souq as well, BUT the 2nd Qatar food festival has just started! Oh almost forgot, the Floating Book Fair started too!

If you haven’t already signed up to the newsletter, please do! Don’t worry, you won’t be spammed and the newsletter goes out ONCE a month. :) Just click here to sign up!

If you’re interested in the food festival, then just click on the banner below for a list of restaurants and hotels that are participating.

It’s only 5 – 15 QR per plate!! Driving past today it looked packed, so I’m heading off early :)

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.