Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Children Celebrate the 15th of Ramadan with Gergean | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jeddah-With the 15th of Ramadan evening approaching, Gulf countries prepare for the revival of an old popular tradition called the evening of “Gergean”. It is a night of celebration during which children wear colorful clothes and travel from house to house asking for candy after the Maghreb prayer.
This indicates that the fasting month has reached its middle for the adults, and it is time for candies and happy celebrations for the kids.
The celebration of this night kicks off after the Maghreb prayer on the 15th of Ramadan. Children wear their special clothes and jewelries, ask for candy from house to house, and sing traditional songs to receive the “Gergean”.
While the children sing the event-related songs, people give them candies, nuts, and some also give them money.

“Gergean” is known by different names across Gulf countries. Ali al-Bahrani, who lives in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia, said that the “Gergean” is also known in the eastern Arab coast, Egypt, and Morocco, but it is called “Halawa”.

According to Bahrani, celebrations of this event have developed with time in the Gulf coast region, and gates are being set in neighborhoods as points to distribute candies and nuts to passersby.

Some old popular neighborhoods in the eastern region has maintained the event’s identity, and children are still wearing their traditional customs and carry fabric bags to collect their candy.

On the other hand, prestigious neighborhoods celebrate “Gergean” differently. People there prepare boxes and fill them with gifts, along with candies and nuts. These boxes are being sold these days on Instagram at high prices.

The changes that “Gergean” witnessed in some countries haven’t reached Oman yet. Ahmad al-Thahli from the Sultanate told Asharq Al-Awsat that the children are still celebrating this event in the same traditional way. Yet, only in Muscat, these celebrations are being held at malls and parks, where children and their families gather and participate in a number of competitions, he said.

The Saudi Actor Saeed al-Saleh described these celebrations on the 15th of Ramadan as beautiful activities that encourage children on social communication. Saleh said that children play a role that well matches their age in this celebration, noting that 10-year-old kids practice “Gergean”, and some 15 year olds organize the celebrations.