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Darb Al Saai 2014

Nishant Kaura/Flickr

Darb Al Saai 2014

Qatar National Day (QND) celebrations in Qatar will commence on Thursday with the launch of Darb Al Saai.

This year, the grounds in Al Sadd will be open from Dec. 8 to Dec. 20, giving residents a chance to learn about Qatar’s heritage.

Food, farm animals, merchandise, shows and other activities usually take place on the grounds.

Darb Al Saai 2015

Chantelle D'mello

Darb Al Saai 2015

The Peninsula reports that this year there will be a private tent for women and new competitions and prizes for visitors.

Qatar National Day will take place on Dec. 18, which marks the date in 1878 when Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani unified the tribes of the peninsula.

According to organizers, this year’s theme is “We are tamers of difficulties,” which reflects the changing times.

Thoughts?

All photos by Chantelle D’mello

Qatar National Day festivities kicked off yesterday with the raising of the flag at Darb Al Saai in Al Sadd.

The actual holiday itself is on Dec. 18, but the Darb Al Saai grounds have been used as a way for visitors to learn more about Qatar’s past, with farm animals, food and other items on display and for sale.

This year, security is much tighter at the grounds, as all visitors now have to go through a checkpoint. The main gate is inaccessible, and entry is made through various peripheral gates.

Also in a departure from previous years, there will be no fireworks.

Meanwhile, several ministries and large organizations such as Qatar Foundation and Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC) have stepped up their presence.

And the Supreme Council of Health is conducting health checkups at its tent, checking blood pressure and blood sugar, as well as offering flu shots.

Heritage

In a throwback to the olden days, the grounds contain an open area where goats and sheep can be seen grazing, and another where camels and horses roam.

There’s also a nod to the country’s pearl-diving past in an area with sunken boats in the sand.

Darb Al Saai 2015

Chantelle D'mello

Darb Al Saai 2015

For those interested in learning about Qatar’s military, there’s an area set up for mock practices and drills.

Meanwhile, traditional black tents have been set up for some vendors to serve karak, gahwa, and other Qatari foods in the center of the grounds.

Shopping

In addition to perusing various ministry and heritage tents, those who come hungry can check out a food court tent with stalls that sell traditional Qatari food as well as juice, snacks and other items.

Darb Al Saai 2015

Chantelle D'mello

Darb Al Saai 2015

In the run-up to National Day, small businesses are also selling plenty of maroon and white clothes, jackets, pillowcase and other merchandise, some of it with with Emir and Father Emir’s faces on it.

Darb Al Saai is open to the public until Dec. 20, from 8am to noon and 4pm to 11pm daily.

More information about it can be found on the QND Facebook page here.

Who’s going? Thoughts?