20141225-QATAR-0042
comments 7

Last Christmas in Doha?

It was cooler than normal, but we have to get up, get out of bed and get ready as any other work day, on Christmas day in Doha. Yes, the weather was  cooler, 16° Celcius, cooler than normal in the Middle East and certainly would not make it in to a “White Christmas”, yet its nice enough to snuggle up for a few more hours in bed, as in the normal world, or at least in Indonesia, where most of us are Muslim, 25th of December is still a Christmas Day and a public holiday.

Unfortunately, not so in Doha, Qatar.  25th of December is a normal work day, so we still have to get ready to go to the office, fighting the Doha morning rush traffic, which is getting worse and worse these days, and try to be in the office by around 7.00 am (our normal starting time). We left home a bit late, after  Facetiming to the children who live across the globe in Sydney and  Perth, Australia, to wish them happy Christmas. This is normal working day in Doha, and we have been doing this (Christmas Breakfast in the office) for the last 9 years, and this is my Christmas No. 10 in the Middle East.

Unlike in Indonesia, Christmas is not recognized in the Arabian Gulf region, but that doesn’t mean there’s no Christian liveing in the region, as a matter of fact, out of 2.1 million population of Qatar, only 12% of them are Qataris compared to 52% from the Indian subcontinent who live and work in Qatar.  Plus other nationalities like the Philippines as well as Europeans, Australians and Americans (infographi on Qatar population can be seen here) I can guess roughly the demography of the religion in Qatar could be 50-50 between Muslim and Non-Muslim. Thus, even though officially there should be no Christmas in Qatar, but in a way, there are Christmas celebrations throughout Qatar.

Empty corridor in the office, many of us were taking holiday...

Empty corridor in the office, many of us were taking holiday…

So how do Christians celebrate their Christmas?   Well, once we get to the office slightly quieter and ’emptier’…. those who want to celebrate it at home could take a day or two off as part of their annual holiday. As a matter of fact a lot of my Philippine and British colleagues who prefer to celebrate it with family and relatives back in their home country. But what about those who decided to stay like us…? I think I was lucky that we work for an ‘international’ organisation who ‘tolerate’ the others, even though our client is the government. Yes we did go to the office, but only for a few hours. At 10 we left the office, dressed up and started partying for the Christmas Brunch at a local 5 star hotel…. just like last year, the year before and the year before….🙂

Christmas brunch with close friends were the best way we could do.

Christmas brunch with close friends was the best we could do.

Legally, consumption of alcohol is controlled, as only one government shop sell them, however, with premium price alcohol is flowing like water in 5 star hotels

Legally, consumption of alcohol is controlled, as only one government shop sells liquor, however, the premium priced alcohol was flowing like water in the 5 star hotels

Ginger bread, Stolen bread, Christmas Pudding, you name it, its all there, either as decoration or the real edible ones... :)

Ginger bread, Stollen bread, Christmas Pudding, you name it, its all there, either as decoration or the real edible ones…🙂

Secret Santas are also there, dishing out presents to us....

Secret Santas  dishing out presents to us….

And here we are, the expat in the Qatar style of celebrating Christmas away from family and relatives, yet its still fun.....

And here we are, the expat in the Qatar style of celebrating Christmas away from family and relatives, yet its still fun…..

Filed under: eJournal, Expat Archive

About the Author

Posted by

I used to live as an expat and travel around the Middle East. After 10 years working in the Arabian Gulf I am now retired and living in the UK with my British husband but still retain my interests of further travels and exploring new horizons in Europe.

7 Comments

  1. hani nandana

    I cannot believe Doha being an international city does not give their christian staff a day off…….to each his own I geuss!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. soal generous memberikan hari-hari besar agama salut untuk negara kita. agama-agama yang diakui sekecil apapun prosentasenya ada tanggal merahnya. di jerman biar umat islam lumayan sekitar 5% kalo gak ngajuin cuti ya harus masuk kerja seperti biasa.

    salam
    /kayka

    Like

  3. Fascinating post Nin and am glad you were able to celebrate Christmas in the end with the other ex pats! Interested to see one of your children lives in Perth as that is where I am! Very best wishes for 2015!🙂

    Like

    • Thank you for dropping by and best wishes to you in 2015. Yes, my daughter currently stays in a farm around 4 hour Pearth, visiting her in-laws but normally she lives in Sydney as well actually.🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately NO, we are working on New Year’s Day. All the best to in the year 2015 and keep on traveling… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: 2014 | Nins' Travelog

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