Qatari culture may seem very different, especially when compared to the Western way of life. This is because many of its laws, customs and traditions are based on Islam! In this sense, Qatar is a country that offers a different and controversial type of tourism, as it has certain prohibitions and attitudes that may be rejected or difficult to understand for some tourists.
– However, the places to see in Qatar are wonderful and, in the middle of all the controversy that its culture raises, we can find charming values. Qatar has been chosen to host the 2022 World Cup, which has sparked an increase in tourism and may continue in the coming years. Are you a traveler interested in getting to know Qatar? Keep reading below.
Characteristics of Qatari Culture
Qatari cuisine is characterized by the use of a wide variety of spices, which it has in common with Indian culture. In addition, it uses ingredients such as red onion, eggplant, chickpeas, lamb and fish. For a complete experience, we suggest you visit one of the local restaurants, where you can order dishes like Majboos or Kabsa, one of the most popular, served on a white rice base.
On the other hand, eish saraya, a kind of delicious cheesecake with cream, is considered a dessert that derives from the typical Egyptian cuisine, but has been adapted with Qatari ingredients. It is common for eish saraya to be present at major celebrations. Also not to be missed is hamour, a typical fish of the region, prepared in stew or fried.
Society in Qatar
Qatari society is quite curious, as it has a large number of migrants. In fact, according to some estimates, only about 10% of the inhabitants were born in the country. The rest come from countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka. Or at least their ancestry is from these nations.
Their society is quite closed and focused on rigid laws that, in some occasions, can go against human rights, if judged from a Western point of view. On the other hand, in Qatari culture, women’s lives are almost entirely dominated by men. In this sense, women cannot engage in any activity without the permission of a guardian: father, brother or husband, if married.
On the other hand, women cannot make decisions regarding children. They cannot divorce either, although there are registered cases, this happens in an excessively small percentage. Domestic and sexual violence is also quite normalized. A woman cannot refuse to have sex with her husband without a legitimate reason.
In the case of men, it is the opposite, because they can live as they please. Their laws are not so strong and they can marry four women simultaneously. What is strictly forbidden is belonging to the LGBTIQ community, in Qatar you must be heterosexual and cisgender, if proven otherwise you can be punished with imprisonment, whipping or death.
Language Spoken in Qatar
The official language of Qatar is Arabic. However, some of its population also speaks English, French, Hindi, Urdu, Tagalog, Malay, Nepali and Baluchi.
Dress Code in Qatar
The dress code is one of the most ingrained customs in Qatar and it hardly goes unnoticed. In this sense, women must keep their hair tied back with a headdress called shayla or nijab. In addition, they wear, on most occasions, a black dress called abayaa. Some women leave only their eyes uncovered and to cover themselves completely, they use the niqab; they do this when they are older.
For men, the dress code requires that they wear a loose fitting, ankle length, long sleeved white garment. It is known by different names: kandurah, thawb or thobe. On his head, he wears a tunic that can be made of white or red and white cloth, it is held together by the agal, a black rope.
The Bedouin culture, typical of the nomadic Arabs who inhabit the deserts of the Near East, the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, is the one that has most influenced the music and rhythms of Qatar. Thus, the most popular musical instruments are the tambourines, the al-ras, the Arab lute, the Arab flute and the rebab. For its part, the predominant music is known as Khaliji, although the Fann at-Tanbura is also often heard in dance rituals and in more spiritual moments.