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


Garangao in Qatar – The Festival of Children (and the Garangao song)

Tomorrows the day to celebrate Garangao [Ga-ran-ga-oh] (or sometimes called Gir-ga-oon)

Garangao, celebrated on the 14th day of Ramadan, is special to the Gulf region , particularly Qatar, and is believed to have its roots in the pearl-diving tradition of the region. Over the years, the festival has gained more popularity with several expatriates joining the celebrations.

This evening, children, clad in their traditional clothes, will come out of their homes and knock on every door in their neighbourhood, which will be ready to receive them with sweets and nuts. They collect the goodies in the special cotton bags, hanging loosely from their necks. Kids will be seen wandering around the streets until late into the night singing the special Garangao song.

Now people are not just interested in buying the goodies, but they go for the specially designed packets and bags decorated with popular cartoon characters and other symbols dear to the children. So shops are vying to offer new and attractive designs. The prices of these packets range from QR5 to QR50, according to the size and varieties of the goodies.

Several Qatari clubs and organizations, which are instrumental in popularizing the festival, have come out with a variety of cultural events to mark the occasion, as in the previous years.

I remember when I was young, we’d all go around singing songs to the different homes and filling our bags with sweets! It was great! I encourage all nationalities to enjoy this festive occassion :)

Katara, iLoveQatar’s home, has something great set up too! Interested? Click here! http://iloveqatar.net/forum/read.php?27,36279

 

The Garangao song!

Here’s the song! Play it loud!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7kpZEKgvQU&feature=player_embedded

Lyrics:

Garangao Girga oh.
Atoona allah yateekum
Bayt Mecca ya wadeekum
Ya Mecca Yal mamoora
Yam il salasil wal thahab ya noora
Atoona min mal allah
Yislam lakum Abdulla.

Now this part of the song is special. You usually end it with the family name or the name of the father of the house (if you know it). So the ending of the song changes. For example:

Khalifa:
Atoona dahbat leefa
Salam Ala Khalifa

Translation:

Garangao Girga oh
Give us what God gave you
To Mecca he’ll take you
The greatly filled Mecca
Covered with tassles, gold and light
Give us what God  have given
Abdulla greets you with smiles

Khalifa:

Please give me us a bit of sweets

Please say hi to Khalifa.

 

So who’s going to be the first person to memorize and sing the song?

HAPPY GARANGAO EVERYONE!

 

Driving down Al Khor (oh and 998!)

Your friendly neighbourhood Qatari decides to go take a drive down Al Khor. (The potential for this place to be something amazing is HUGE).
While driving down and doing the usual Vlogging, I bring up a good point – 998!

One Week at the Museum

Rule of Law

Looks like there’s a lot of interesting sites popping up on the net! I stumbled upon http://www.ruleoflaw.org.qa/

ruleoflaw

Not only is it quite attractive, but I think it’s a right step towards letting people know about what the laws are in Qatar. I’m a law graduate myself and I can definately say that finding out what the laws are in Qatar isn’t easy nor convenient. If only there could be an online legal database, that would be fantastic!

Qatarisation: Trying

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You’d think that with all this talk of Qatarisation, things would be a bit easier.
We’re in the process of highering a secretary in the office (not ILQ but my day job office). So we started to search for Qatari secretaries.

We needed an Arabic and English speaker, we thought that we’d want to help Qataris searching for jobs, and that we’d be helping the system.

So we knew that the Ministry of Labour had a list of Qataris searching for jobs. We went to http://www.mlsa.gov.qa/Pages/default.aspx in order to get the number (side note, the English section is under construction and it’s probably going to remain that way for a couple of years).

How can the english side not be up yet? There should at least be a basic page so that foreigners can also search for Qataris to hire, especially if it’s a rule now.

You’ll finally get the following number 4841111. Give it a call. If you get an answer, you’ll win… win….. satisfaction. The type of satisfaction that comes with a hint of shock

We called for three days and nobody answered. How can we help Qataris if nobody answers? Why isn’t the database of employees searching for jobs accessible online?

So my colleague decides to head off to the Ministry and speak to someone. He meets someone in an office who promises to email us the list.

After receiving a list of graduates and non-graduates we go through it systematically.

I’ve now read every unusual (yes I heard some names I’ve never heard of before) name and heard every exception in the book.

- I want to wear the niqab in the office (against policy)
- I want my own office (you’re going to be a secretary..)
- I want a higher salary (do a good job first!)
- I don’t want to be in a mixed office (we live in a mixed world)
- I don’t like your company (fair enough… but if you’re on a government job site should you be so picky?)

The list goes on! We finally find TWO out of 100 people that seem suitable, ask for their cvs, they sound happy, and they send nothing…

As usual everything is messed up. From the institutions to the inviduals the institutions are trying to help.

side note: for those that can’t read the ‘about’ section or couldn’t have guessed by the title of the blog. I’m Qatari.

Chinese God of Fortune was a Muslim

Here’s something interesting, the Chinese God of Fortune was a Muslim. Thought that was an interesting fact.

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.