As part of the activities of Doha Capital of Culture in the Islamic World 2021, The Qatari Forum for Authors organized the first episode of the series “Suhoor with an Author”, which is organized throughout the blessed month of Ramadan. Dr. Ali Afifi, who presented the series, hosted a group of authors to review the memories of the holy month in the past.
The guest of the first episode was Mr. Khalifa Muhammad Al-Sayed Al-Maliki, a playwright, radio, television and journalist, and a researcher in heritage and popular literature, who began his speech by reviewing the memories and rituals of Ramadan in Qatar during the 1950s, pointing out that Ramadan changes and develops periodically. He mentioned that during this stage, people were close to each other, whether in homes or hearts, and that people needed the requirements of the holy month which did not exist at that time, unlike now, where there is abundance in malls and grocery stores. Mr. Khalifa also said that in the past all needs and requirements were manufactured or produced by women in their homes.
Al-Maliki emphasized that there are famous occasions which had their rituals in the past, and he mentioned the ritual of “Al-Nafila”, which is in the 15th day of Sha`ban. As for the atmosphere of Al-Majlis in Qatar in the past, specifically in the month of Ramadan, he explained that Qatar in the past had 3 types of Majlis, the first one was for the “Mutawwaeen”, where they recite the Quran, and the second Majlis was for young people, where they play sports, and the last Majlis was for the “Nawakhdha” (merchants), where they talk and consult about trade, money and matters related to these aspects. He added that there is “Al-Ghabga”, which is available in all kinds of Majlis. “Al-Ghabga” is the food that must be fish of all kinds.
Regarding children in Ramadan and their rituals, Mr. Al-Maliki said, “Ramadan was the only month in the year in which children were allowed to go out during the night as they were not allowed to go out at night other than Ramadan. In fact, children in Ramadan had many games, because during the day time there were no games due to fasting. They are therefore compensated for being deprived of playing during the day time by going out and playing after Iftar and after Taraweeh.
As for Garangao, he said, “Kerkaan came from the cracking of pebbles. When the torrent happened, the pebbles appeared, and women would come with them when they went out to get some basic things such as crackling and grass for the sheep as well as other necessities. Pebbles were used to knock on by crackling them”.
There are two types of “Kerkaan”. The first one is directed to children aged 10 years and above, and this category does not carry bags. Rather, children belonging to this category pick up one large canvas and they relay payload on it. They take with them “saj” and drums, and run from one house to another and repeat “Atuna Allah Yatikom”. They repeat phrases of praising to the inhabitants. As for girls, they go from house to house with pebbles to knock on.