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Ramdan in middle east_Qatar

The Holy month of Ramadan is about to get underway and Qatar, as well as the entire Middle East region, is high on excitement. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting. Muslims are required to refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking and sexual relations. In some interpretations, swearing is forbidden. Eid al Fitr marks the End of Ramadan.

Ramadan 2018 will start on Wednesday, May 16, and will end on Thursday, June 14. The non-Muslim expat community will find it quite a stretch and will need to remember important dos and don’ts. Non-Muslims, young children, the sick, people with mental health illnesses, travellers, the elderly and women who are menstruating, pregnant, breast-feeding or have recently given birth, do not have to fast.

Since Ramadan is just a little over two weeks away, the routines in Qatar will change drastically. From beautiful decorations to Iftar feasts and lesser working hours, Ramadan is taken quite religiously here. Muslims are expected to follow the creeds of Ramadan, both in public and private spaces. They keep their thoughts and actions pure and use the month-long period for spiritual reflection. They rein in unwanted sentiments, such as anger, greed, envy, lust. Gossiping is considered unhealthy. They also mull over their spiritual beliefs, and strengthen their devotion by reciting the Holy Quran during the day.

More than any other time, the month of Ramadan can be challenging for the expat population.

Expats, take note

Ramadan for expats in Qatar

If you are planning to relocate to Qatar during the month of Ramadan, quash it. Government agencies and authorities are largely preoccupied with celebrations and are generally slow-moving in performing their duties. Offices close early and those at work are unusually not focused. Shops shut down before time and streets are generally deserted during daytime. These can be nerve-racking and you will find yourself with little direction and help that is normally available. It is better to relocate well before or after Ramadan.

You must accept invitations for an Iftar from observing locals. Bring dates and gifts. It strengthens the bond and sends a respectful message. Introduce yourself to your neighbours and visit Qatari families and friends and embrace the community spirit. Hug more and more to build affinity.

Even if you are a non-Muslim, it is impolite to eat, drink or smoke in public during the hours of daylight. If you can, try and participate in charitable activities and volunteer services.

You might want to leave Qatar for sometime during this time not just because of the punishing heat, but also because you don’t feel obliged to observe the rituals and be a part of it. Don’t. This is your chance to show that you appreciate their culture and are keen to celebrate with them. It’s a sign of friendliness.

Dress appropriately and do not play loud music. It’s considered intrusive and disturbing to those who are fasting. Be modest and patient.

You will do well to steer clear of debates, arguments and fights since Ramadan is a time of peace and tranquility. Remember, you are not a natural in Qatar. You are seeking acceptance, and it comes only if you adhere to ground rules and show that you care. Play by the culture. Don’t go on kissing or cuddling your partner of the opposite sex in public. It’s especially offensive during the Holy month.

Try fasting yourself. It has health benefits, cleanses the soul, helps you understand your body better and helps you with self-control. Of course, in a way, it also makes you one of their own.

 

Lulu Group in cooperation with Australian Embassy has launched the Australian Festival for the first time, at its outlets in Qatar. The ongoing Australian Festival is launched at Lulu Hypermarket — Al Messila on 5th February and will extend till 12th February.

The inaugural ceremony was attended by the officials from the Australian Embassy, Yara Elsergany and Lamees Shaat, members of Qatar, Australia and New Zealand Business Association (QANZBA), Mohamed Althaf, Director of Lulu Group International and many other dignitaries.

As per the inaugural speech of Dr. Axel Wabenhorst, Lulu group has put in great efforts at the festival to highlight and promote various products at the Festival. Also, he expressed that the supporting point of sale materials utilized in-store was highly impressive indicating that beef and lamb are the most imported food items in Qatar from Australia.

The inaugural was also attended by children of King’s College Doha and (the Nord Anglia) Compass School Doha, with an amazing song from Australia performed by children of King’s College Doha.

Live cooking sessions by a Culinary Chef from Meat Livestock Association (Australia) became one of the major attractions at the outlet.

The festival introduced people to major product lines that are directly being imported from Australia regularly for a long time. Categories that are imported include fresh meat, cheese, olives, free-range eggs, muesli bars, bread, varieties of milk and milk products, organic baby foods, sauce, cake mix, honey, fresh and frozen fruits & vegetables etc.

Moreover, the festival also offered specialities and delicacies such as Aussie burgers and other popular Australian dishes at the Hot-food counters.

Despite the presence of Australian products at Lulu stores for a long time, this promotional campaign is expected to lead the promotion of a wider range of Australian products further increasing the sales stimulating the demand and imports.

Qatar has an Australian expatriate population of nearly 3,300 citizens working in high-ranking positions, constituting 0.21 percent of the total population. This festival gives them a great opportunity to enjoy authentic Australian delicacies.

 

 

The much awaited “Biryani Festival” is all set to kick start on the 7th February in Doha. The festival will see the participation of 45 exhibitors at Hotel Park Sheraton.

The four day festival is organised by ‘Four and One’ from 5pm to 9pm daily. It will prove to be a paradise for foodies as there will be a convergence of skilled restaurateurs and chefs from all over the South Asian region.

Visitors can experience over 100 varieties of biryanis including, Mughlai, Lucknow gosht, Kashmiri vegetable, mussels, prawns, hara macchi, egg, harkmas (beef), Malabar chicken, Mattanjery chicken, Kayikka’s beef, Thalassery mutton, the traditional Afghani, Irani flavours and much more.

The festival will prove to be a delight for both, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, given the various options lined up in the menus of exhibitors. It is a one-of-its-kind opportunity to experience the mouth-watering delights and presented in partnership with Talabat, Zomato, Urban Point and QTouch Media & Events

As per the statement given to The Peninsula by Omran Al Sherawi, partner of One and Four, “Hosting this event is part of our strategic plans of partnering with the Qatar Tourism Authority in maximizing the tourism potentials in Qatar.

With a sizeable number of expats from the sub-continent in Qatar, hosting this event will help in further boosting community integration and cultural appreciation. Aside from this, biryani has emerged to be a widely accepted food item by almost everybody, so it is natural that an event of this nature will help participants in familiarizing with the various varieties available.”

Four and One Group CEO, Fernando De Guama, expressed in a statement to The Peninsula, “Coming on the heels of the successful hosting of the Chocolate, Tea and Coffee Festival, the Biryani Festival is another way we are showcasing the rich cultural diversity of the residents of Qatar. The biryani dish reflects sophistication of the society and culture, which goes hand in hand with Qatar. This festival permits restaurateurs to be involved and help celebrate the wider range of their exotic dishes and flavours that originate from their homeland.”

“The number of Biryani varieties is mind-blowing. Nowadays, one can indulge in the savoured experience anywhere in Asia, including Burma, Iran, Iraq, India Indonesia, Malaysia, Middle East and Sri Lanka. In India alone, each city has its own brand of biryani. “The Biryani festival will be one of our success stories of the year as it involves a mass community participation and government partnerships. With over 45 exhibitors, our aim is to help boost the economy through business and tourism, but in a fun fare way”.

Asian expats are to experience the richness of a heritage delight that is associated with the royal Mughal cuisines. The use of exotic spices in various cooking forms was introduced by Mughals in India as an art that soon became a craze and still continues to be one, making biryani one of the most favoured food delicacies in the region.

Biryani, despite its origin, was able to create fans throughout the world with its strong taste, intense aromas and delicious varieties.

The side-lines of the festival will also give visitors an opportunity to interact with celebrity chefs. Also, the entry-free event will have game shows and kids activity, giving it a holistic family touch.

So be there with your friends and family this weekend to taste the authentic rich flavours of biryanis.