Qatar has a vibrant calendar of festivals and tourism events that take place every year and help build interest in the country’s diverse and authentic tourism offerings.
Held over 6 days in late October or early November, the Qatar International Art Festival in Doha offers a showcase and creative exchange for artists from around the world. More than 200 artists take part in the festival, which has live painting displays, workshops, panel discussions and a fashion show as well as an exhibition.
During the month of March each year, the capital city of Qatar is home to the Cultural Festival. Attracting thousands of visitors annually, this important festival showcases the cultural uniqueness of the area. Traditional music, dance, costumes, and cuisine are mostly found throughout these events at different venues around Doha. The statue of Luang Po Chaem is now enshrined at the main hall, together with statues of Luang Po Chuang and Luang Po Kluem, other revered monks who resided at the temple in later years. Locals and visitors usually visit the temple to vow their wishes from the statues, and will return to burn firecrackers when the wishes become true.
Played at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, the Qatar Open Tennis Tournament is a popular tennis event, held in January. Many of the sport’s biggest names come to Doha to compete in the event, which means thousands of tennis-lovers also make their way to the Qatari capital. Roger Federer is a yearly competitor at the Qatar Tennis Open.
Dhow boats have taken sailors around the Arabian seas and beyond for centuries, and each year Qatar celebrates this magnificent sailing vessel in its Traditional Dhow Festival at Katara Cultural Village in Doha. The festival usually takes place in December.
Foodies and hungry visitors will want to visit Qatar in March or April to see and sample some fabulous cuisine by chefs from around the globe at the annual Qatar International Food Festival. Among the events are live cooking shows by acclaimed chefs, healthy food workshops, farmer’s markets and farm-to-table experiences. The festival also offers the chance for local chefs and entrepreneurs to showcase their talents. Each year has a different theme with live performances and entertainment reflecting the theme. The festival has been held at various locations around Qatar including The Pearl and Oxygen Park in Doha.
The annual Ajyal Film Festival at the Katara Cultural Village in Doha is a week-long event in late November celebrating the motion arts. Ajyal means 'generations' in Arabic and the festival is designed to appeal to all ages, with not only movie screenings and discussions but also cosplay activities, video game tournaments and modern music performances.
This event is a national commemoration of Qatar's unification in 1878. It is celebrated annually on 18 December. Activities include: • Fireworks show: Includes music, lights and fireworks. • Katara National Day celebrations: Festivities and over 20 heritage-themed events are held at Katara Cultural Village. • National Day Parade: Members of the general public parade through the Doha Corniche. Officials from the Armed Forces, ISF, Ministry of Interior, and Amiri Guard also participate in the parade. • Classic car show: Antique cars formerly owned by government officials are showcased.
Qatar’s famous market – Souq Waqif – gets even more lively during its annual spring festival, which runs for 15 days from late December to early January. Even more food carts and vendor stalls are packed into the market, while the kids are kept entertained with pony rides and carnival rides in Al Ahmed Square.