Garangao is here, and, so we’ve compiled a list of some traditions of the festival that you should know! Garangao is celebrated on the 14th day of every Ramadan and is usually most enjoyed by children as a celebration of having fasted for half of the Holy Month. They eagerly await this festival for the first half of Ramadan, until they finally get to rejoice with their family and friends. While the origins of the festival are unclear, it continues to be a celebration exclusive to the Gulf region, and is known by different names in the different Gulf states.
You’ll know when it’s Garangao because children all over Qatar get decked up in fancy clothes, with the girls wearing rich, colourful, embroidered jalabiyas and gold jewellery, carrying their decorated bags all set to hit the streets for a candy rush!
Of course, a festival for children means lots and lots of candy. Traditionally, sweets and nuts were given to children in their bags. People stock their houses with candy prior to the festival – with some people even taking the time to prepare little packages for the children to collect.
The children have special Garangao songs that they sing as they frolic down the streets of their neighbourhoods, trying to get their hands on as much candy as they can.
Here's the main Garangao song. Play it loud: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7kpZEKgvQU&feature=player_embedded
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:
The person singing:
Atoona dahbat leefa
Salam Ala (name of the singer)
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
The person singing:
Please give me/us some sweets
Please say hi to (name of the singer).
Often during Garangao, families gather together in their houses and celebrate Ramadan-style while their kids are out celebrating with candy. It’s a great time for people to get together and enjoy the company of family and friends!
Garangao celebrations take place all around Qatar, with people bringing their children to partake in a variety of activities. These include distribution of goodie-bags, applying henna, face-painting, listening to, and narrating stories!
Do you and your family celebrate Garangao each year? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below and don’t forget to give us a like and a share – it keeps us going!
Written by Rumana Shaikh
Cover image credit: iStock
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