Your guide to celebrating Garangao in Qatar – 2016 edition

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Shafallah Center

Photo for illustrative purposes only.


Vodafone Logo_200x200-01 This Ramadan guide is presented by Vodafone Qatar.

Lights, camera, candy!

Across Qatar, several venues are preparing to mark Garangao, an annual celebration for children that includes singing traditional songs, wearing fancy outfits and collecting lots of nuts and sweets.

The festival, celebrated across the GCC on the 14th night of Ramadan, is kind of like a Khaleeji version of Halloween, minus the pagan and Christian connotations.

The name varies by country, and itself originates from the word “Gara,” which represents the sound that bagfuls of candy and nuts bumping against each other make as children knock on doors.

Ramadan decorations at Katara

Omar Chatriwala

Ramadan decorations at Katara

Some believe the festivities celebrate the mid-point of Ramadan. Um Khalaf, a famed local storyteller, said the night traditionally served as a reward for children who memorized 15 chapters of the Qur’an.

In the past, Garangao used to be celebrated by children who dressed up in traditional dresses and robes, carried bags around their necks, knocked on doors and sang a special song to get candy.

Now, many places around Qatar are offering a chance for the public to gather together to celebrate the occasion.

Most of these events take place on Sunday, June 19, but there are some exceptions. Here’s the lowdown on five celebrations around town:

Al Shaqab & Qatar Foundation

This year, Qatar Foundation is working with its member, Reach Out to Asia, to bring a traditional night to Al Shaqab’s grounds on Friday, June 17, from 7:30pm to midnight.

QF Garangao

QF

QF Garangao

Children’s activities will include storytelling, henna and pony rides, as well as sack races and hopscotch. Kids will also be able to make bookmarks, ride smoothie bicycles, build solar-powered lanterns and check out virtual reality games.

Funds from some of the games will be donated to ROTA’s charity works across the region. Gifts and prizes will also be available for the children.

Katara

Katara Cultural Village will host a “scavenger hunt” for children on Sunday, June 19 from 8pm to 11pm for kids to find Garangao gifts near the amphitheater area.

Garangao 2015

Chantelle D'mello

Garangao 2015

Children will be lined up to start at one location and walk through Katara from one gift collection point to another.

There will be various events happening at each collection point, and refreshments will be offered.

Aspire Zone

Also on Sunday, June 19, Freej Aspire will celebrate Garangao with a special storytelling session, a short film screening, singing traditional songs and a distribution of Garangao gifts.

This will take place from 9:30pm to 11:30pm.

Garangao 2015

Chantelle D'mello

Garangao 2015

Freej will continue to offer various other activities such as basketball, volleyball, arts booth, henna corner, and a kids playground with traditional games for the night to celebrate Garangao.

These will be available starting 9pm.

The Pearl-Qatar

United Development Company will host a night of stories and Qur’an readings on the Pearl at a traditional tent setting at Souq Al Medina in Medina Centrale’s indoor arena on Sunday, June 19 from 9pm to midnight.

Attendees will also be able to make use of the henna corners, face painting stations, inflatable slides and bouncing castles. Snacks and treats will be on offer.

Garangao photo for illustrative purposes only.

Samrah Shahid/Flickr

Garangao photo for illustrative purposes only.

Children will also have the chance to go around various restaurants in Medina Centrale to receive Garangao goodie bags, accompanied by a Musaher, the traditional suhoor drummer.

Ezdan Mall

The mall is celebrating Garangao next week on Friday, June 24 from 8pm to 11pm on the basement floor, near Vodafone’s store.

But it is also hosting various events such as cooking classes, planting workshops and storytelling from Friday, June 17 to July 1.

How do you plan to celebrate Garangao? Thoughts?


More Ramadan coverage

Please read our Comments Policy before joining the discussion. By commenting, you agree to abide by it.

Some comments may not be automatically published. This is not action taken by us, but instead, depending on whether or not you have verified your email address, or if your post triggers automatic flags.