Garangao to be celebrated in Qatar amid coronavirus restrictions

Buses will go to children’s homes to distribute nuts and sweets as Gulf state marks festival on the 14th day of Ramadan.

Garangao is a children''s festival said to be rooted in the pearl-diving tradition of the Gulf state [AFP]
Garangao is a children's festival said to be rooted in the pearl-diving tradition of the Gulf state [AFP]

Qatar’s Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage has said it will celebrate the tradition of Garangao on Thursday night by observing physical distancing rules due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Garangao is a children’s festival celebrated on the 14th day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in the Middle East after fasting hours. In Qatar, it is said to be rooted in the pearl-diving tradition of the Gulf state.

On the day, children dressed in traditional clothes go around their neighbourhoods collecting candy, sweets, nuts and other snack items throughout the night.

However, as the world grapples with the pandemic, the tradition will be observed differently this year.

Buses have been arranged to distribute packaged snacks to children in their homes. The vehicles will be equipped with loudspeakers playing traditional Garangao songs, iloveQatar website reported.

A report by The Peninsula newspaper on Wednesday said the Qatar Museums and Hamad Medical Corporation have launched a ‘Stay home, stay safe’ campaign to celebrate Garangao virtually.

Issa Al Haremi, director of sports affairs at Qatar’s Ministry of Culture and Sports, told The Peninsula the celebration is a “symbolic initiative” and aims to “spread joy in the hearts of children”.

The ministry said the event will be conducted in cooperation with 10 sports clubs, including Al Sadd Sports Club, Al Rayyan Sports Club and Qatar Sports Club.

Al Haremi acknowledged it would be challenge to cover the entire country’s children by bus.

“A large group of children will receive gifts of Garangao, and this distribution is to ensure community participation and to make sure this festival does not stop due to the current exceptional circumstance,” he was quoted as saying.

He said videos will be posted across all social media platforms to ensure the buses take precautionary measures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Qatar has reported almost 18,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 12 deaths so far.

The virus has infected more than 3.7 million people worldwide and killed more than 260,000 people.

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Source: Al Jazeera