11:37 AM

The night of the 14th of Ramadan is something every kid looks out for. It's the time for Qaranqasho or as the other GCC countries refer to as Qirqee3an or Karanka3oh. Given that it is a cultural ritual in Ramadan, the atmosphere feels way different, people are cheerful and you feel amazed at how peaceful and relaxed you feel. Maybe it's because of all the worship you do, maybe it's the lower working hours or maybe it's the family gatherings and smiles you get every where you go. An electrifying ambiance all together that keeps your body and soul in complete harmony is what you are immersed in.

The ritual basically is similar to Halloween's trick or treat minus the scary costumes. The kids would go around the neighborhood, door to door knocking while carrying a cloth bag their mom sewed around their necks. When someone opens the door for them they'd sing a song (this is what we sing in Oman)  'Qaranqasho yo nas 3a6oona shwaiat 7alwa. Doos doos fel mandoos, 7ara 7ara fel sa7ara'. Basically they're asking for sweets and candy. If they don't get anything or the house owner refuses to give out anything, they'd go on singing in anger '8edam beitkom 9iniya w wara beitkom jiniya' where they would curse the person's house (they'd pray that a demon haunts the house) :p 

Anyways this year's event, when I walked past the excited group of kids with their cute little bags, brought memories back to the only Qaranqasho I ever joined in when I was 8. My mom never believed in letting us out of the boundary of our house let alone go around the neighborhood, she was way overprotective, well she still is. Anyhow, my sister who was 5 at that time and I decided that we'd sneak out of the house, the moment my mom and aunt headed out for a jog after iftar. Our rendezvous was at one of the neighbor's houses where all the kids met to set out a plan. Apparently there was a strategy of tricking people so as to get more treats from them. 'Push the young ones forward and hide the treats you got from the other houses' was the main plan. And so a few minutes later, we headed around the neighborhood and had fun the whole time while we were at it. I remember my sister and I were the only ones going around with plastic bags while everyone had their motherly sewn bags around their necks. We somewhat felt sad that mom never believed in such festivities but then being the kids we were we let it past us and went back signing along and having a blast. 

Though given that we were young, we only managed to plan the escape route and forgot everything about the return back home plan. The way back home was the longest, most terrorizing walk ever. The fear we had as we gulped down knowing what was in store for us next is a feeling I still, to this day, recall. And yes it's the worst fearful feeling I've ever gone through. Reaching home with our torn plastic bags from all the treats that got stuffed inside, my mom and aunt were expecting us. And boy oh boy, did we get the worst beating of our life. Waking up the next morning with the cuts and marks of the whips we got from the telephone line, we woke up happy and smiling that we managed to know what Qaranqasho felt like. And for the treats, anything was worth it. 

Note to self: Must learn to sew, so I would be able to make those bags for my future unborn children. 

So what about you guys? Ever enjoyed it? 

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  1. I have enjoyed for some years before I grew up :(
    It was more fun back in the days and we used to use pillow cases instead of the sewn ones :P
    We used to go around neighborhoods and we used to fill the pillow cases till our arms hurt :D

  2. ^^
    Hahaha pillow cases..!! That's cute :D

    Memories are really something.

  3. never went into one xD seems fun

    i guess the sweets were worth the beating, no? xD


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