Qaranqasho is a delightful social tradition observed in the middle of the holy month of Ramadan. Children go out after iftar and the Maghrib prayers in groups singing popular songs related to this beautiful tradition.
Many of the sultanate's governorates celebrate Qaranqasho, the most common name for the celebration, which some call Garge'an like in some other GCC countries that observe this Ramadan tradition.
Children look forward to Qaranqasho with much excitement even as adults prepare for it with love and care. It is a feast for children and they prepare for it several days prior to the day by selecting new clothes. On the 14th day of Ramadan, after Maghrib prayers, the children go out in groups and enthusiastically visit neighbourhood houses where adults wait to receive them with sweets, money and nuts contributing to bring a smile on the faces of children.
Gifts to the children vary in the present time depending on the social status of the families and the wishes of children. Families compete to offer the best gifts to the children so that they come again for Qaranqasho next year.
Qaranqasho helps in building bridges and enhancing social communication. It also enables children to learn good manners when going out in a group and understanding how a system works in a group. The group has a leader who delegates roles and responsibilities among members of the group and determines the routes to be taken, timing and such other details of the exciting evening.
Children belonging to various segments of society participate. It is considered a tradition that has continued since ancient times. “Parents and grandparents participated in it; now their children continue the tradition and eagerly await it every year,” said Nasr bin Said al Kindi, from the Governorate of Muscat.
According to Kindi, the gifts of Qaranqasho earlier were limited to money and dates, but now the gifts include candy, nuts and small games, in addition to money.
He also informed that earlier, Qaranqasho was observed throughout the wilayats and in all houses with the celebrations continuing till midnight in the light of the moon. It lasted until suhoor. These days, however, the festivities are mostly seen in the period between iftar and Taraweeh.
Social institutions, associations and commercial centres have now started organising Qaranqasho in efforts to revive the tradition and bring happiness and delight to the hearts of children.