Qatar date festival a big draw at Souq Waqif

All photos by Reem Saad

Enticed by the frigid air and the free samples, hundreds of people crowded into an indoor tent at Souq Waqif yesterday to check out a new date festival.

The two-week long event, organized by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME), kicked off over the weekend.

Some 20 varieties of dates, all picked from 22 local farms, are on display. Prices start at around QR6-QR8 for a small 1kg box.

Residents who attend are invited to taste the dates and learn more about their nutritional value.


Some of the varieties on display include Ikhlas, Shishi, Lulu, the red Khunaizi, Barhi, Razeez and Hibri. They differ in taste, color, size, thickness of skin, and carbohydrate and calorie count, among other specifications.

Known to many as rutab, most of the dates are ripe and soft, and will be in season until the end of August.

Date Festival at Souq Waqif

Reem Saad / Doha News

Date Festival at Souq Waqif

Some of the types on display are available for sale at hypermarkets around Qatar, but most are rare species that are not yet produced commercially, an MME spokesperson told Doha News.

She added:

“The benefit of holding the date festival is to introduce Qatar’s local dates… There are several kinds here that you wouldn’t find in regular stores.”

The festival will run daily until Aug. 14, with the tent opening from 4pm to 10pm.


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