Qatar National Day: December 18
Qatar celebrates National Day as a public holiday.
Every year on December 18th, the people of Qatar celebrate the Qatar National Day to commemorate the historic day in 1878 when Sheik Jassem, the founder of the State of Qatar, succeeded his father, Sheikh Muhammad Bin Thani. Qatar earned its independence on September 3, 1971 but national celebration day is December 18.
Qatar National Day History
Even though Qatar had enjoyed a legal status of a dependency, resentment continued against the Bahraini Al Khalifas who were on the eastern seaboard of the Qatari peninsula. The Al Khalifas launched a successful effort to squash the Qatari rebels in 1867, sending its naval force to Al Wakrah. This foray by the Bahrainis, however, was in violation against the Anglo-Bahraini Treaty of the 1820. The following diplomatic response from the British to this violation set would eventually lead in the founding of the state of Qatar.
In addition to reprimanding Bahrain for its breach of the agreement, the British Protectorate under Colonel Lewis Pelly requested to negotiate with a representative from Qatar. The request only emphasized Qatar’s status as distinct from Bahrain. The Qataris chose their negotiator, the respected entrepreneur and Doha resident, Muhammed bin Thani. Muhammed bin Thani’s clan, the Al Thanis, had taken relatively little interest in Persian Gulf politics, but this diplomatic endeavor ensured their role in the movement towards independence and their destiny as the ruling family. Their dynasty continues to this day. The results of the negotiations gave Qatar a newfound sense of political selfhood. However, only in 1916 was Qatar able to gain official standing as a British protectorate.
The scope of the British Empire was reduced after the Second World War, most especially following Indian independence of 1947. During the 1950s, pressure for a British withdrawal from the Arab emirates in the Persian Gulf only increased. In 1961, the British welcomed Kuwait’s declaration of independence. Qatar joined Bahrain and seven other Trucial States in a federation when Britain officially announced in 1968 that it would disengage politically from the Persian Gulf in three years’ time. Regional disputes quickly compelled Qatar to resign from the federation and declare independence. Qatar became an independent sovereign state, on September 3, 1971,
Qatar National Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
Thousands gather to witness the shows. There’s a parade in the morning. Then there are light and water shows in the afternoon. In the early evening, there is a spectacular display of fireworks. Qatar celebrated its National Day, under the motto Day of Unity, Loyalty and Pride, to commemorate Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammad bin Thani’s victory against the Ottomans and later achieved statehood for Qatar.