All photos by Navin Sam
Thousands of people in Qatar stayed up late and braved the traffic to attend midnight services at the church complex on Christmas Eve.
Many more are expected to attend services today, as the country’s hundreds of thousands of Christians look forward to a long weekend to celebrate the holiday.
Though security was tight at the entrance as always, church-goers report an upbeat mood, with singing, bake sales and other activities being held inside the massive complex.
Qatar’s church complex opened in 2008 – the country’s first church in 14 centuries – with the launch of the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary.
The grounds have expanded significantly to include several Christian denominations since then, including the Anglican church and Greek Orthodox church. Services are also held at the complex for Evangelical, Pentecostal and Protestants, among others.
Things to do
More information about Christmas services at the complex can be found here. For those looking to go out, almost all shops and malls will be open today, as Christmas is not an official holiday in Qatar.
And with schools out and so many people staying home to celebrate with family, traffic appears to be better than ever:
Best part about Christmas in Qatar? Very little traffic on the way to the office. #dohatraffic
— Jono Haysom (@JonoH) December 25, 2014
For those who do wish to do something special, several of the nation’s hotels are marking today with brunches and dinners. Marhaba, Time Out Doha both have helpful guides on the subject.
Are you celebrating Christmas today? What are your plans?
Christmas Family together starts in evening home made cakes, and mixes
Gotta love Qatar! This is one of the nicest countries in GCC that allows non-muslim to practice their faith and assures the security of its residents.
Yes it’s tolerance in accepting certain faiths is very encouraging.
Why no cross?
I think it is more important to have a place to meet rather than the symbolism of a cross. Mosques in Europe don’t always have minarets as they don’t fit in with the architecture, it’s not a problem for them either.
I agree. But I’m sure those Mosques in Europe have their symbols all over the place.
Actually I didn’t noticed that there was no cross anywhere in the compound until someone pointed it out to me.
What symbol? The moon with the star? I’ve never seen that used anywhere or in any mosque
Actually I have not been inside a Mosque. I’m retracting that part of my post. hehehe 🙂
Some do have mosque like features, some don’t and just look like any other building. Nearly all are not allow to broadcast the call to prayer. That is considered noise pollution and no one wants to be woken in the morning by that.
I thought Dubai was way more open! Weird :/
It is..Felicia was jus being nice.. 😛
Incase u havent noticed there are a lot of other religions in the world and there are no places of worship for them in qatar.
Very true, but at least it is a start. Many of the other religions aren’t considered religions in islam or are considered by the culture in the gulf as lesser religions.
Merry Christmas !
I was about to go to church, but then I took an arrow in the knee,got stuck in traffic instead.