Monday, December 07, 2009

Doha Diaries, no. 5

Christmas in Doha

While we won't actually be in Qatar for Christmas, the season is upon us nonetheless, and it's to be found everywhere in Doha. Hubby and I have found this to be quite surprising. Decorations and lights line the Corniche, shopping malls have held various Christmas Market Days (complete with Santa Claus, Christmas cookies and trees, etc.), and even the nursery Eliza and Amelia attend is decorated to the hilt with snowflakes, tinsel, and ornaments. In a Muslim country, one in which any public display of religion other than Islam is technically illegal, how is this possible? I'm thinking there are only two possible reasons, but they don't necessarily exclude one another.

First, the possibility that the expat/Christian population is large enough that the powers that be feel like they should recognize and accommodate our most-revered holiday. Maybe....this is what Hubby thinks.

Second, and the one I think is more likely, is the seemingly obvious fact that money can be made from entertaining our holiday traditions. We'll buy decorations, we'll shop for gifts, and we'll spend good money to maintain a sense of normalcy here, especially during the holiday season and especially in the case of those who aren't able or willing to make the flight back home (wherever home is). I get the impression that the capitalist enterprise of the holidays seems fairly universal, and businesses in Doha want to exploit that just as much as businesses in the US and other predominantly Christian countries... but, I could be wrong. I'll have to ask around about this...


Intlxpatr said...

There is a local, Qatteri family who just put up one of the most beautiful Christmas trees I have ever seen. They love Christmas, at least the part with Santa, trees, presents, sparkling snowflakes, etc. Haven't seen a lot of nativities . . . have you? ;-)

Glad to see you blogging again, Academama. I check up on you all the time. I hope you are doing well.

AcadeMama said...

It's good to know someone's checking in :)

So, have you asked this family about their Christmas decor? My assumption would be that it's just another means of consumption for them...another "thing" on which they can spend money. Like you point out, there's not a nativity to be found, which is telling. Or, this might indicate they just like all the pretty lights, glittering wrapping paper, and a bunch of red and green stuff.

Lisa Dunick said...

Probably the same reason that the little Italian town I lived in for a few months during college celebrated the 4th of July-- complete with red, white, and blue Budweiser signs :)

Safe travels!

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