A desert peninsula on the west coast of the Persian Gulf, Qatar is an independent constitutional emirate. Today the Qatari people celebrate their national day, as Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, the second sheikh of the Al Thani dynasty, ascended to the throne exactly 140 years ago. Remembered as the founder of Qatar, he organized and centralized the land, setting it on a path to becoming one of the most diverse and prosperous nations in the region. His successor, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani (1972–95), negotiated Qatar’s independence from Great Britain in 1971, becoming the first emir.
Elaborate celebrations are planned to mark this year’s National Day, with an emphasis on the principles and values of Qatari society. The official theme for this year’s celebration, “as long as it was proven by our deeds,” was inspired by a poem written by Qatar’s founder. In the capital city of Doha, parades and fireworks will take place, while in the Katara Cultural Village, centuries-old traditions of weaving, falconry, and pearl-diving come to life.
Happy National Day, Qatar!