What is Eid?
There are two major Muslim festivals celebrated throughout the year in Qatar. The first is Eid al-Fitr, which follows Ramadan, and the second is Eid al-Adha, which follows the Hajj.
Eid al-Fitr means ‘festival of breaking the fast’, as it follows Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during the entire holy month.
Eid al-Adha, on the other hand, commemorates the completion of the Hajj pilgrimage. Although only pilgrims in Mecca participate in the Hajj fully, Muslims around the world join them in celebrating Eid al-Adha, as this pilgrimage is one of the most important acts of worship that a Muslim will ever experience.
As the Islamic calendar is lunar, each of these festivals fall on a different date each year. Each year, the dates of both festivals are estimated in advance, but the actual date of the celebration will depend on the sighting of the new moon.
In Qatar in 2017, Eid al-Fitr started on June 25, ending on June 28, while Eid al-Adha is expected to start on September 1 and end on September 4.
How does Eid affect business in Qatar?
Qatari businesses often close for both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, giving their employees official vacation days from work. Businesses within the public sector will often close for longer periods, while those in the private sector may only close for the days in which the festival is observed.
Government ministries will typically close for business over Eid, however some may offer abbreviated hours. For businesses that rely on the services of the public sector and government ministries, it’s best to check in advance what services will be available, and when they will be offered.
Financial institutions will often close over Eid, but some banks may open over certain hours during the holiday. Again, if you have to interact with the bank over Eid, find out when and where they are open beforehand.
While HMC emergency services will continue to be available throughout Eid, other departments will typically close over the holiday. Health care centres may be open, but check which ones are open and their hours before leaving home.
Making the Best of Eid
As an expat, you may not celebrate Eid, but that doesn’t mean it won’t affect you. In business, try to get as much processed before Eid as possible. In terms of Eid al-Fitr, this can be trying, as the holy month of Ramadan leading up to Eid also features reduced business hours and restrictions.
To find out more about Ramadan, what to expect, and how it will affect your business, check out our post here.
The celebration of both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha mean restricted business hours, so it’s best to expect delays and factor them into whatever you are working on. Try to be patient with the way these celebrations affect your business, and most of all; be sensitive to those who celebrate them.
During the three-day festival of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Muslims will usually go to prayers during the morning, and then visit with family in the afternoon. In Qatar, this could involve checking out the many forms of entertainment on offer.
Performances and activities take place throughout Qatar, with much of the entertainment on offer geared towards children. Eid al-Fitr in particular often involves the giving of gifts and sweets to children, making it extra special for them.
While Eid may affect business in Qatar – and business in Dubai, for those who live there – it is a time for celebration and contemplation. Organise your business affairs prior to the festivals, expect delays in normal business routines, and try to embrace this new culture you are living in!
At Fusion Middle East, it’s our job to guide new businesses while they’re in Qatar and the UAE. To find out more about how we do this; contact us today to arrange a no obligation meeting with our team.