My Ramadan, My Traditions
Mubarak Alekoum el Shahar
The act of fasting in Ramadan is the same for muslims all over the world, but certain customs and traditions differ from country to country.
Each culture and language has their own way of greeting friends and family to mark the start of the holy month. In Qatar, we say Mubarak alekoum el shahar.
This Ramadan, we wanted to celebrate the different customs and traditions that are enjoyed across different cultures that live together in Qatar. We invited you to share what makes your Ramadan special.
You shared your tweets and pictures with us using the hashtags #RamadanTraditions and your country name, and we displayed them throughout our social media channels, enjoying the special month together.
In Qatar, we have our own traditions around the holy month of Ramadan.
Two weeks before the start of the holy month, in the middle of Sha’ban (the 14th day of the Hijri calendar) we celebrate Al Nafla.
Al Nafla is based on the act of giving and sharing. Families gather to prepare traditional food, mothers arrange delicious welcoming platters while children watch on. The food is distributed among their neighbours and to the poor. While cooking for Naflah, they also start to prepare the food and ingredient staples for the month of Ramadan, and are reminded of the rewards and blessings associated with the coming month.
On the 14th day of Ramadan, we celebrate Garangao, a fun tradition for children. Its a way to celebrate their efforts in fasting half way through the holy month. The word comes from "Gara”, a Khaliji word for the sound of things knocking together.
During Garangao, after the sunset prayer, children dress up in their traditional clothes, carry a decorated material bag, and walk around their neighborhoods singing the Garangao song, hitting stones together to create a rhythm. In the past they were given dates, rice and wheat, the ingredients used for a traditional Qatari dish called Harees, but nowadays children usually receive nuts and sweets.
Traditionally, the end of the fast at sunset would be marked by the firing of a canon, so that even those away from town would be able to hear the signal and know that it was time to break the fast. We still carry on this tradition ceremoniously today, and it's broadcast live on Qatar TV as an indication of the end of the day's fast.