National Day (Qatar)

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National Day
The Qatari National Day Logo.jpg
Qatar National Day logo.
Observed byQatar
Significancenational commemoration of Qatar's unification in 1878
Date18 December

Qatar National Day (Arabic: اليوم الوطني لقطر‎; Al-Yawm al-Waṭani li-Qaṭar) is a national commemoration of Qatar's unification in 1878. It is celebrated annually on 18 December. The holiday was established by a 21 June 2007 decree of the then Crown Prince and Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.[1] It is also known as Founder's Day.[2]


Fireworks celebration during Qatar National Day (2012)

The holiday is annually celebrated on 18 December. It is a national holiday and most of the public are given the day off from school and work.[3] Prior to the Emiri decree in June 2007, Qatar National Day was annually celebrated on 3 September, the day of Qatar's independence.[4]


Several activities are organized during the week of observance. These include:[5]

  • 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.

Purpose and significance[edit]

A parade taking place in Doha (2013)

On 18 December 1878, Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani succeeded his father, Mohammed bin Thani as ruler of the Qatari Peninsula. He is deemed to have unified all the local tribes by combating external forces, such as the British. He also earned a considerable degree of autonomy for the tribes of the peninsula.[4]

The holiday has been instrumental in developing a sense of national identity among locals and expats.[6] It has also helped improve knowledge and appreciation of Qatar's heritage.[according to whom?]

Online criticism of Qatari youth[edit]

Considerable internet controversy was generated in the country in 2009 after an expatriate professor who attended a parade posted her reaction on the online forum Qatar Living. In a thread entitled 'Shame on Qatar on Qatar National Day', she criticized the antics of Qatari youth, who routinely engage in activities such as driving on two wheels and wearing shocking masks during celebrations. This triggered a national dialogue over the rights of the population to criticize the country. The debate gradually increased in popularity and drew hundreds of participants from all sections of the community.[7]

2016 cancellation[edit]

Following the December 2016 end of the Battle of Aleppo in the Syrian Civil War, the government on 18 December announced it would cancel all festivities in solidarity with the people of the city of Aleppo.[8]



  1. ^ "UNESCO Doha celebrates Qatar National Day with Qatar National Commission". UNESCO. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  2. ^ "About Qatar National Day". Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  3. ^ "National and Public Holidays in Qatar". Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Everything you need to know about Qatar National Day 2012". Doha News. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Qatar National Day Events Guide". Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  6. ^ Kamrava, Mehran (2013). Qatar: Small State, Big Politics. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0801452093.
  7. ^ Hickey, Dona (2014). Identity and Leadership in Virtual Communities: Establishing Credibility and Influence (Advances in Social Networking and Online Communities). IGI Global. p. 246. ISBN 978-1466651500.
  8. ^ "Qatar cancels national day gala after Aleppo onslaught". Al Jazeera. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2017.

External links[edit]