People celebrate Eid adhering to pandemic measures

Qatar joined billions of Muslims to celebrate Eid Al Adha yesterday. Worshipers gathered in around 588 mosques and prayer grounds across the country for prayers, despite a return of the mask mandate due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisation in Qatar.

Known as the “Feast of Sacrifice,” the revered observance coincided with the final rites of the annual Haj in Saudi Arabia yesterday. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims at dawn trekked to Mina, a broad valley ringed by barren mountains where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stopped on his route over a thousand years ago.

Saudi authorities allowed one million Muslims worldwide into the holy city of Mecca, marking the largest pilgrimage since the pandemic.

In the spirit of Eid, Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani tweeted greetings to citizens and residents as well as the entire Arab world – wishing a blessed Eid and prosperity to all.
Qatar recently reintroduced the indoor mask mandate amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations. The Cabinet announced the decision after a review of a health ministry’s report. Citizens and residents must wear the protective gear less than two months after lifting the mask mandate.

Across the nation, entertainment areas, tourist sites and hospitality service providers had their hands full as families took time out to enjoy the Eid holiday.

At The Cultural Village Foundation (Katara), a large audience of visitors participated in several activities. They attended the theatrical performances presented in Building 18, art workshops, colouring, face painting, canvas painting, balloon formation, cartoon character shows, and ceramic painting.

Speaking to The Peninsula, A Doha resident Saleem Mustapha said the celebrations this year feel more like pre-pandemic times, notwithstanding the reintroduced mask mandate.

“I am happy we can celebrate this year’s Eid Al Adha like this; it feels much more like Eid before the pandemic. Last year we were still in the third phase of restrictions, so it was muted, but now you can have more friends and families,

“Though the mask mandate is back, it still doesn’t put a damper on the celebrations. The kids are enjoying this, so this has been good,” Mustapha said. 

At the sprawling Souq Waqif, citizens, residents and tourists thronged the area in the hundreds, visiting shops and historical spots down to Msheireb Downtown Doha.

“This is one of the best places to be in Doha,” Rashid Abdallah said. “Though I am here without my family, I am with friends, and we are just enjoying the holiday and the occasion. We hope the pandemic becomes a thing of the past, but we are still glad to be out here rather than during lockdown.”

The Ministry of Public Health has urged the public to celebrate Eid responsibly and adhere to COVID-19 precautionary measures by wearing a face mask in close public places, getting vaccinated, including booster shots, and washing their hands regularly.