The culture of Qatar is rich, which it continues to follow even as it advances. We’ve put together a collection of things that define what Qatar is and represents.
Find out all about Qatar’s national symbols on the following pages!
There are two colors on the flag of Qatar: ‘Al Adam‘ (maroon) with a broad white serrated band (nine white triangles). In 1916, following the Qatari-British agreement, the nine-pointed, serrated sides of the seal symbolize Qatar becoming the 9th member of the ‘reconciled Emirates’ of the Persian Gulf.
According to popular belief, the maroon and white of the Qatari flag do not represent peacefulness and bloodshed in wartime. Modern-day Qataris have been coloring their flags red for centuries using a dye obtained from a small island near Al Khor called Bin Ghannam. Sunlight would fade the dye to a purplish-red or maroon hue.
The first Qatari flag in maroon-red was adopted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Thani in April 1932. The flag of Qatar featured nine points on the white side separated by diamond-shaped rhombuses, and the Arabic word “Qatar” was emblazoned in white in the middle. Qatar’s flag took its present form during the reign of Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al Thani, the ruler of the country at the time.
In December 1996, Qatar adopted its National Anthem, “As-Salam al Amiri,” shortly after His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani (his father and the former Amir). A sheik Mubarak bin Saif Al Thani composed the piece, and it was first performed during a reception held in Qatar for leaders of the Gulf Cooperative Council.
National coat of arms (Emblem)
1976 marked the introduction of Qatar’s coat of arms. A yellow circle contains two bent swords. In the middle of the swords is a depiction of a ship, known as a dhow, sailing right next to an island. Surrounding the middle of the emblem is the Qatar flag with the name of the country written in Kufi script.
It is celebrated annually on 18 December to commemorate Qatar’s founding in 1878 by the late Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed bin Thani. Officially, National Day is a holiday.
National Sport Day
In Amiri decision No. 80 of 2011, the National Sports Day in Qatar was declared an official holiday every Tuesday of the second week of February as part of the celebration of the state’s day to celebrate national sports.
Qatar’s national language is Arabic, and it is one of several dialects of Gulf Arabic spoken in the region. English is commonly used in schools, and schools teach Modern Standard Arabic.
In Qatar, Islam is the national religion, and Sunni Muslims make up the majority. Shias make up less than 1% of the population. Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism are the three largest religions among non-Qataris.
“Thobe” is the national attire for men in Qatar. An elegant white tunic or robe that covers the entire body from the wrists to the ankles. Thabos are loose-fitting tops that have a fitted bottom half. The Thobe is always worn with a loose pair of white trousers called the Sirwal. In Qatar, the thobe has long been part of the culture, which is still carried out by both young and old alike.
The typical headdress worn by men in Qatar is a loose cloth headdress, known as a ghitra, made from white or red cloth, and held on with a black cord called an algal.
Women in Qatar wear abayas when they leave the house. As a symbol of religious devotion and Arabian culture in Qatar and other parts of the Muslim world, the Abaya has become quite the norm, mostly black, though some color variations can be seen in black. Because it is the only garment worn by Muslim women, the Abaya has evolved into a fashion statement too, with lots of different designs and variations now available in the market. At least in most cases, one thing remains the same: the purpose of the Abaya is to cover the body.
A headscarf called a Shayla or hijab completes the look. It’s a scarf tied around the head so no hair shows. In addition to the niqab, some women wear a turban. Most of the time, it’s a matter of personal choice or tradition.
Qatar’s national currency is the Riyal. Its currency code is QAR, and its abbreviation is QR. Qatari Riyal is composed of 100 dirhams (coins). The Central Bank of Qatar issues all Qatar notes and coins, which are regulated by the central bank. Currently, the Qatari Riyal (QR) is valued at 3.64 QAR per US Dollar.
Qatar’s national animal is the Arabian oryx. Did you know that the Arabian oryx with its triangular beauty spot on top of its nose went extinct during the seventies, but was reintroduced into its natural habitat in 1980 through a breeding program? It is now only vulnerable, which is a great achievement after near extinction, although it will still take some time before it is no longer endangered.
The national bird of Qatar is the falcon. The six species of falcons in Qatar are Amur, Sooty, Lanner, Saker, Peregrine, and Barbary falcons. As a result of its sharp eyesight, the falcon is a very important animal in Qatar and is associated with being noble and wealthy. Despite being a popular pet, it has to be properly cared for and undergo intensive training.
Qatar’s national tree is the Sidra Tree. As a cultural legacy and tradition, Qatar’s roots connect contemporary learning and development with Qatar’s cultural heritage.
A multifaceted icon of Qatari culture and heritage, the Sidra tree is featured in the signage of QNCC as well as the Foundation’s logo. The arid climate of Qatar’s desert regions, especially in the country’s north and center, is perfect for this native tree.
Qatar’s national flower, the Qataf, grows along the country’s coast. The blooms of Qataf, also known as Lemonium or Sea Lavendar, are pink or lilac in color and can be seen from March through May in Qatar.
The national dish of Qatar is Machboos. Usually, chicken, lamb, or even vegetables and seafood are marinated with rice, which makes it a rice-based dish. It may also be flavored with rose water or lemon juice before serving.
The ‘Ardha sword dance’ is Qatar’s national dance. The dance dates back to the times when the Bedouin tribes ruled Qatar and were performed before a battle or war. The dance was known as ‘Ardha’ because it was performed in historic times to demonstrate the fighting strength of a tribe before it went off to war, showcase weapons, and boost the morale of the tribe and its people. Today, it is performed primarily to honor culture and heritage, to show kinship, and to promote unity between the people and government of a country.
The national airline of Qatar is Qatar Airways. This is a 5-star airline that strives to provide its guests with exceptional services and an unmatched travel experience throughout their journeys on one of its modern and contemporary aircraft to more than 160 destinations around the globe that are included in its route network. There are over 4,000 entertainment options and extraordinary food onboard Qatar Airways, so you can sit back, relax, and let Qatar Airways take care of everything else!
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