Muscat – Qaranqasho, the celebration marking the eve of Ramadan 15 – or the middle of the holy month – will be held on Wednesday.
The celebration is primarily focused on children and is highlighted by house visits. Children dressed in traditional clothes go from house to house singing special songs and receive sweets, nuts, and small gifts in return.
Homes are decorated with colourful lights for Qaranqasho, and Omani halwa prepared for the occasion. Parents purchase traditional clothes for children.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Sultan al Rawahi, a resident of Seeb, said, “We celebrate this special occasion on the 14th night of the holy month. The tradition of Qaranqasho has continued since ancient times; the occasion is eagerly awaited by the whole family. Special preparations are made in advance, with house decorations and purchasing gifts being the top priority.”
Describing how he celebrates Qaranqasho, Rawahi said, “We are a group of six families; we gather with our children in one house and distribute gifts, sweets and toys among the children who wear traditional Omani clothes.”
Bidiyah resident Moosa al Hajri observed that the celebrations enhance social cohesion among neighbours. “The occasion is an excellent opportunity for families and friends to come together, strengthen bonds and have fun. It also provides children an opportunity to learn about their cultural heritage and traditions.”
Nizwa resident Hamad al Abri informed that every year, the people of his al hara gather in the neighbourhood sablah after Tarawih prayers to celebrate the occasion.
“Children sing religious songs in an atmosphere of joy and happiness. As tradition dictates, the adult family members give children small gifts – sweets, chocolates, cakes and token sums of money. It is a festival for children and they prepare for it several days in advance.”
In the olden days, Qaranqasho was limited to giving money and dates, but now the gifts include candy, nuts and small games, in addition to money.
The celebration usually begins after Tarawih. Children gather in groups and start house-to-house visits. They carry special bags – known as Ghail Bait – to collect gifts and sweets.
“Children are welcomed in other people’s homes, too, where family members share their joy with gifts and sweets,” said Seeb resident Yahya al Hassani.