Traditional Iftar cannon firing to be part of Ramadan festivities

Doha, Qatar: As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, anticipation builds not only among Muslims but also tourists and residents of the traditional firing of the Iftar cannon (Midfaa Iftar), signalling the end of the fast.

This age-old tradition holds significant cultural value and remains an integral part of Ramadan celebrations not only in Qatar, but also in other Muslim nations.

Various locations across Qatar, including traditional marketplaces Souq Waqif and Souq Wakra, will continue the tradition of firing the Iftar cannon. At Souq Waqif, the cannon will be fired at the eastern square, while at Souq Wakra, it will be at the western square. Other tourist destinations like Cultural Village, Katara, Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab Grand Mosque, and Old Doha Port, which have historically participated in this tradition, are yet to confirm their plans.

The cannons are supervised by Qatari Armed Forces, ensuring a safe and synchronised event. Hundreds of people gather to witness the firing of the cannon, with organisers often distributing gifts and food afterward for adults and kids. The tradition will continue throughout Ramadan.

Residents and visitors alike cherish this tradition, finding solace and unity in its cultural significance.

Ahmed from Syria, a regular attendee of the Iftar cannon events, expressed his admiration for the sense of unity and tradition at these cultural sites.

“There is something special going at these traditional and cultural places, being with the people and witnessing the cannon firing. It feels we are united and everyone is in awe of this kind of tradition.” 

Heather from Poland shared her experience of witnessing the cannon firing for the first time in 2022 and has since made it an annual tradition, noting the importance of preserving such cultural practices for future generations.

While the exact origin of this tradition is debated, it is believed to have originated in either Egypt or the Ottoman Empire, according to Qatar Tourism. “The canon was fired so as to be heard near and far, to ensure everyone knew it was time to eat. In Qatar this tradition continues to this day, and is broadcast live on Qatar TV. “

Although modern technology has replaced the need for cannons in many aspects of daily life, the authorities in Qatar have upheld this tradition as a means of promoting cultural values and heritage. 

The practice of firing the Ramadan cannon is not unique to Qatar but is observed in various other Islamic countries such as Kuwait, Oman, and the UAE, among others.

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