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Surge in demand for flags before national day.

LN MALLICK DOHA MARKETS and retail outlets across the country are witnessing a surge in demand for flags and memorabilia before the Qatar National Day.

The national day, which is celebrated with patriotic fervour on December 18 every year, commemorates the historic event in 1878 when the founder of Qatar Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed al Thani succeeded his father as the ruler and led the country towards progress and prosperity.

The joy of the national day is not limited to indoor activities.

It is extended to memorabilia in the form of mugs, badges, sheilas, scarves, caps, T-shirts, gowns, thopes, abayas and bags.

This year, Qatari nationals and expatriates have spent more on clothes and flags.

"The most sought-after memorabilia in our shop is the Qatari flag. Some people prefer flags which come with plastic fittings for cars," said Roohul Amin, a shopkeeper in Al Muntaza area. He noted that flags, caps, badges and scarves bearing pictures of the Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani and the Heir Apparent His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani are in big demand.

Car decoration shops located opposite Capital Police have also witnessed a surge in the number of motorists lined up weeks before the national day. Some of these shops are charging between QR500 and QR15,000 from car-owners depending upon the nature of decoration.

"The youngsters are more enthusiastic this year. They are prepared to spend more money to get the best possible decoration for their cars," said Mohammad Imran, a Pakistani shop-owner. He said the decoration items were imported from China and the demand this year was higher than last year.

The country's traditional dress-makers are also doing brisk business with an increase in demand for children dresses.

"The demand for patriotic dresses is more than last year.

Most of our clients are preparing dresses for their children.

Besides abayas, tailoring shops are also busy making thobes for men in national colours," said Abdul Jasim, a Bangladeshi tailor in the Mesaimeer area.

Naseer Mohammad Kundi, an Indian shopkeeper at Mesaimeer who has been residing in the country for 30 years said, "The national day is the best time for the people to demonstrate their love for Qatar." Khalid Jaber al Mansoori, a Qatari national expressed happiness over the preparation for the big day. "Qatar has set a good example before the Arab world by intertwining its rich tradition and culture with modernity and liberal values.

Qatari nationals and expatriates are now reaping the benefits of the country's past policies and now marching towards achieving greater heights. The country has the ability to become a regional leader in education, he a l t h c a r e , culture, humanitarian efforts and can effectively play the role of an international m e d i a t o r , " Mansoori said.

Echoing Mansoori, Rashid Abbas Madwi, a Sudanese national, said, "I'm happy to see Qatar emerging as an important player in the world stage. All credit must go to the country's leadership -- both past and present. It's time to pay tribute to their vision for unifying the country and leading the nation towards bigger success. The national day is a big moment not only for the Qataris but also for the many expatriates who consider Qatar their adopted home. My children bought Qatari flags, stickers and memorabilia to celebrate the national day on December 18 in a grand way."

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Dec 14, 2011
Words:584
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