The day to celebrate Garangao [Ga-ran-ga-oh] (or sometimes called Gir-ga-oon) is coming up!
Garangao, celebrated on the 14th day of Ramadan, is special to the Gulf region , particularly Qatar, and is believed to have its roots in the pearl-diving tradition of the region. Over the years, the festival has gained more popularity with several expatriates joining the celebrations.
This evening, children, clad in their traditional clothes, will come out of their homes and knock on every door in their neighbourhood, which will be ready to receive them with sweets and nuts. They collect the goodies in the special cotton bags, hanging loosely from their necks. Kids will be seen wandering around the streets until late into the night singing the special Garangao song.
Now people are not just interested in buying the goodies, but they go for the specially designed packets and bags decorated with popular cartoon characters and other symbols dear to the children. So shops are vying to offer new and attractive designs. The prices of these packets range from QR 5 to QR 50, according to the size and varieties of the goodies.
Several Qatari clubs and organisations, which are instrumental in popularising the festival, have come out with a variety of cultural events to mark the occasion, as in the previous years.
I remember when I was young, we’d all go around singing songs to the different homes and filling our bags with sweets! It was great! I encourage all nationalities to enjoy this festive occasion.
Here’s the song! Play it loud!
Garangao Girga oh.
Atoona allah yateekum
Bayt Mecca ya wadeekum
Ya Mecca Yal mamoora
Yam il salasil wal thahab ya noora
Atoona min mal allah
Yislam lakum Abdulla.
Now, this part of the song is special. You usually end it with the family name or the name of the father of the house (if you know it). So the ending of the song changes. For example:
Atoona dahbat leefa
Salam Ala Khalifa
Garangao Girga oh
Give us what God gave you
To Mecca he’ll take you
The greatly filled Mecca
Covered with tassles, gold and light
Give us what God have given
Abdulla greets you with smiles
Please give me us a bit of sweets
Please say hi to Khalifa.
So, who’s going to be the first person to memorise and sing the song?
And, if you're looking for more Ramadan-related information in Qatar, there's only one place to go--Ramadan.QA!
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