Al Naflah is celebrated on 14 Shaaban of the Islamic calendar before the start of Ramadan as a reminder of all the rewards and blessings that the holy month will bring with it. The idea behind it is to start preparing for the upcoming month of fasting. Family members get together, buy Ramadan staple grocery items and prepare food in anticipation of the holy month. They also prepare traditional food and platters that are distributed amongst the neighbors and the poor. Food such as Harees and Machboos is cooked, and local desserts such as Muhalabiya and Umm Ali are prepared and given as gifts. It’s believed that doing these activities together with family or community is a blessing, so there is an emphasis on this tradition.
On March 17, to share the joy of this beloved local custom, QAIC visited friends at the Embassy of Qatar in Washington, DC, and at ConnocoPhilips with some sweet zalabiya. Additionally, QAIC hosted an open house to celebrate the tradition of Al Naflah with community members and friends at its headquarters. Visitors had the chance to learn more about Al Naflah, view our current exhibitions and museums, and enjoy zalabiya and tea!