Ramadan & Eid in the Past

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April 12, 2017
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Ramadan & Eid in the Past

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This video is an interview with a Qatari grandmother, Mrs. Fatima Mohammed Al-Sharif. During the interview, she talked about Ramadan days and preparations, and what type of food the families used to cook for Iftar. Then she gave a brief summary of the Garngaoh night and what they usually used to wear and do. At the end of the interview, she talked about preparations for Eid.

Interviewer: Fatima Hashim Mohammed

Interviewee: Family member: Grandmother, Mrs. Fatima Mohammed Al-Sharif

Interview Setting: Interview conducted in house of Mrs. Fatima Al-Sharif in Al-Azizia

Affiliation with interviewee: Mrs. Fatima Al-Sharif is my grandmother. I have spoken to her about many other traditions and cultural occasion in Qatar.


Fatima: Alsalm Alekum Mum

Mum: Alekum Alsalm my dear, welcome how you are and how is your father and mother? Are you all well

Fatima: alhamdulla we are all fine mum, what about you and grandfather?

Mum: Alhamdulillah, all in God hands

Fatima: Grand ma, today I would like to conduct an interview with you for a university assignment

Mum: you are welcome if I know what you need, but if I forget and miss it up , you surly know that my memory is not that strong now

Fatima: Oh no, I am sure you know so many thing

Fatima: I want to ask you about the Holly month Ramadan and how was it before?

Mum: Are you asking about Ramadan only, or Shaban and Rajab too?

Fatima: No only Ramadan night, how you prepare for that Holly month?

Mum: Oh ok sure. It is a very blessing nice night from God. It is happiness given to us from God. May Allah give us a long life to fast each year inshalla.

Fatima: What do you do at that night? Do you prepare special food ?

Mum: we only make small portion of food in the afternoon, we prepare a small dish of dates and some Marag (a tradition food) and some water. We keep it on the Sofra (a piece where they put on the floor and put their food on) and wait for the Magrib prayers. When it is praying time, we go pray, change cloth and gather for our meal. We start our meal with a date and we say the following “God for you we fast, and we eat from your live hood we eat and we fully depend on you in everything.”

Fatima: What do you prepare for Iftar meal?

Mum: We love Regag (kind of traditional Arabic bread), we make it and bake it for long time sitting on our knees before Iftar time. And we keep it for the Sohor too (Sohor: second late meal before Fajr prayer). After Iftar we go for prayers.  

Fatima: Do you visit each other during Ramadan?

Mum: yes of course, we visit our relatives and neighbors during the whole month till Eid time. Especially men, they spend their times in majlis and together for praying, chatting and gathering. We all sit together from Magrib time till Fajir time. Before Fajir prayers we are usually called by a man in the neighbor known as Mushaer (he is a man who walk with his drum to wake people up if they are sleeping and to let everybody knows that it is time for eating some food before Fajer prayers). He uses a special song that says (Ramadan, Ramadan, do not sleep people.. Etc.)

Fatima:  What about the very special night at the middle of the month which is known as the Garngaoh ?

Mum: Wait let me tell you about Eid!

Fatima: No mum , Garngaoh night is during Ramadan and before Eid.

Mum: yes , yes half of Ramadan .. And she sang Garngaoh traditional song

Fatima: What do they usually wear?

Mum: usually girls wear the Boknag (a traditional piece of cloth) and they carry a bag over their nick to collect sweets and nuts from all houses in the neighbor; before I have the mind and physical strength to do so many things not like now my dear.

Fatima: Oh grandma , you are still sweet and young.

Mum: This is Ramadan and we sometime make Harees (very common traditional food) and takes some of our food to our relatives and neighbors to share and try.

Fatima: Was Ramadan too hard for you during the summer time?

Mum: I wake up from morning time, I pray Fajer and then I prepare what I need for cooking and I sleep for few hours then I wake up to cook even if the weather was hot. We use different kind of dishes and cooking material that I cannot remember its name now … (she kept thinking and could not remember) I usually make Sago (a tradition sweet) and some other kinds. Not like now, you keep ordering food from restaurants. For drink we just use some water and ice.

Fatima: When Ramadan is close to its end? How do you prepare yourself for Eid?

Mum: (she sang Eid song for me) , I cannot remember the whole song. Any away, men go for Eid prayers and we prepare the rice for lunch and everybody gathers and enjoys lunch and sometime dinner in same house.

Fatima: Do you give Eidya (Eidya: a gift, usually small amount of money that elder people give to children to feel happy and have fun)?

Mum: Yes sure, but you know our Eidya was what? It was very small amount just half riyal at maximum , unless a person who is really rich he will give 10 riyals. Everybody give depend on their living income source. Alhamdulla (thanks God).  May God accept our prayers, fasting and everything we do. It was so different, we were always together and share everything, and it was a nicer happier world than today. Today every person lives for her or his own and in his own home. It is so boring now.

Anyway, let me get back to the Eid night. As I told you we buy meat, rice and vegetables and we cook at home either (Makbos or Biryani) with some marag (All are traditional food). And we were very happy to do so and never feel tired; from early morning we prepare our children and their new clothes to enjoy their day together. When we give one riyal it like we give 100 riyal, now no one understand what is Eid , they do not get its spirit anymore. Men after prayer , lunch and family visit they go for ( Razef) the traditional dance and women go for ( Morada)( it is the traditional dance for women)  wearing their best clothes and gold. This is how we enjoy our time during Eid night and Eid day. And she sang the song and tells me its meaning.. But she got bit confused again by repeating few things that she already mentioned. And she felt it and said: Mum I do not have the mind now and my memory is not that strong.  

You know , before we were all the same, we have never feel that a person different from each other and you know I have been to Maka and Alamdina too. And let me tell you about the coffee we drink and how we make it a lone and we enjoy.

Fatima: Thank you so much mum, I really enjoyed my time with you and learn a lot.

Mum: just let me know whatever you need and how I can help and I will try my best.

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