Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Omani Holidays: Garankasho

"Garankasho" "Karankasho" "al Talbah" "Hag Al Layla"-[UAE] "Haq Allah" or "Geragoon"-[Bahrain] is a Gulf Holiday (not an Islamic one) that is slowly dying out, equivelent one could compare in the knocking on doors for treats aspect of it, to a Western Halloween.

I haven't written on it before because it has never been practiced in any of the villages or townships I've known of a traditional nature, but I was assured Al Amerat and in Muscat some still practice it, and in some villages in Qurayat. I think they did in Muscat when I was really small but I don't remember, sorry, though I recall my mother complaining about children ringing the bell on her gate asking for 100 and 500 baisa notes, and her not being able to tell them apart, so she started stamping their hands with indellible ink because some of the more naughty boys kept coming twice after she'd already given them and she couldn't tell them apart, lol!

So what is it?: Garankasho or Al Talbah [at least that's what Omanis call it] happens in the middle of Ramadan (in Emirates it can take place BEFORE Ramadan for those Omanis in the Buraimi district or Musandam pennisula who'll call is Haq al Layla) where children (ideally dressed in their traditional regional national clothes) knock on doors just before the sun sets carrying a traditional palm frond basket singing for sweets.

The traditional sweets include palm nuts, peanuts, walnuts, dried fig, and foil wrapped sweets (and now includes baisa and 1 rial notes).

The song varies but always begins like this:

"Garankasho, Garanksho/ Atoona allah yaadikom...."

and may finish like this:

"Ya Makka Yal ma'amourah
Ya um Al-Salasel We Al-Dhahab ya Noora"

Which means:

"Apple of the eye of the month with a basket (of palm fibers), Apple of the eye of the month/ Give us so that Allah will give you/ And to His house we will take you [Mecca House]/ Mecca which is growing/ And Noora [the faithful] who wear golden jewelry therein"

Do you know when and where families can take their children to practice Garankasho this month? I'd love to know:)