Thousands of children and their families gathered at Al Shaqab in Education City to enjoy the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) ‘Garangao’ night, a traditional celebration held across the Gulf region to mark the completion of the first half of the Holy Month of Ramadan on the 14th night.
Following the breaking of the fast on Thursday, Qatari and expatriate families descended on Al Shaqab, eager to participate in Qatar Foundation’s full programme of fun events and activities organised especially for the ‘Garangao’ night celebration.
The hugely popular evening saw thousands of children participate in pony rides, face painting, arts and crafts, and henna art along with other activities and games. As well as receiving traditional Garangao gifts and sweets, the children were provided with complimentary books. And, in an effort to foster understanding of Qatar’s heritage among its youngest population, Qatar National Library, member of Qatar Foundation organised a muppet show to animate the story telling of several traditional stories throughout the evening.
Commenting on the tremendously successful community-based event, Fahad Al Qahtani, Group Executive Director – Administration at Qatar foundation, said, “We have celebrated the Garangao to showcase the culture and heritage of this country in a modern way.”
Mr Al Qahtani also noted, “The Garangao evening saw participation from a large number of Qatari and expatriate families.” “This is definitely an event that brings the community together, and allows us to share our tradition and culture with our expatriate community members as well,” he said. “At Al Shaqab, we have a diverse community who share a common passion and love for horses and for building champions of the future and, through an event like this, we can convey this passion not just to members of QF’s community but to everyone in Qatar,” he added.
Crediting the success of the event to the hard work and commitment put in by various QF bodies, he continued, “One of the most notable aspects of this event is that it is a collaboration among various QF entities. By hosting this event, Al Shaqab is contributing to support Qatar Foundation’s vision of community development and to preserve and raise awareness about Qatar’s heritage and identity for future generations.”
Qatar National Library (QNL) was among the QF members who supported the event. Saadi A. Al Said, QNL’s Associate Director for Administration and Planning, said: “We aimed, through participating in the organisation of the Garangao night, to highlight Qatar’s honoured heritage and encourage the young generation to preserve such traditions, as this is one of the most important priorities of Qatar National Library, and aligns with its vision of bridging with knowledge Qatar’s heritage and future.”
Mrs Maryam Ahmed, a Qatari attended the celebration with her nine children, in addition to their children and nieces. She said, “This is the very first time my children have attended a public event to celebrate Garangao. We are all having fun, especially as it is reviving a most beautiful tradition. I personally handmade all of my family’s costumes that they are wearing this evening, as I want them to understand our traditions and beautiful heritage.”
Qatari Issa Abdul Aziz Aboud, celebrated Garangao with his daughters, nieces and nephews. “I am so pleased to see so many people attend the Qatar Foundation event as there has been so much enjoyment from everyone here,” he enthused. “The young members of my family enjoyed many of the games organised, and were showered with very distinctive gifts.”
Canadian resident Amber Nelson, living in Qatar since September 2013, said, “My kids enjoyed being here tonight, especially the pony ride. We really liked the idea of having different stations and shops where children could fill in their Garangao bags with sweets, nuts and books about Qatar’s culture and traditions.”
According to tradition, on the 14th night of the Holy Month of Ramadan, children clad in traditional clothes come out of their homes and knock on every door in their neighbourhood, ready to receive gifts of sweets and nuts. These treats are collected in special cotton bags, which hang loosely from their necks. Excitement and energy fill the night air for many hours, combined with the singing of special Garangao songs.