Children in Kuwait have started to celebrate the traditional festival of Gargee’an amid the coronavirus spread.
From the 13th to the 15th of the holy month Ramadan, Kuwaitis celebrate Gargee’an, when children dress traditional attire and go door-to-door to receive sweets and nuts from neighbours, while also singing traditional songs.
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Rooted deep in Gulf culture, Gargee’an is not only celebrated in Kuwait but also in other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
Halima Al-Enzi, a 45-year-old Kuwaiti mother, said that the precautionary measures imposed by the Kuwait government did not prevent her from preparing for the celebration.
Speaking to Xinhua, she affirmed her readiness to celebrate the festival, with Instagram providing her with an online shopping experience to buy traditional clothes for her three daughters and son.
Usually, Al-Enzi celebrates Gargee’an with her family, relatives and friends, but this year the celebration will be within her children inside the home due to the coronavirus.
Some Kuwaiti women are keen on reserving the heritage by buying unique Gargee’an bags with a Kuwaiti touch, while others prefer to buy modern style bags full of colors for their children.
Kuwaitis nowadays are not able to celebrate Gargee’an like before, which is an important social event for children as well as adults, Um Ali, a Kuwaiti citizen, told Xinhua while she was shopping for sweets in the Jabriya Co-operative Society.
Coronavirus pandemic and the strict measures of social distance made Kuwaitis be more creative in celebrating the event.
For Sondos Al-Fadhli, a Kuwaiti citizen, Facebook live was the answer to experience Gargee’an vibes.
This is the best way to share her moments with family members and let her children enjoy the tradition, she said.
Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti group called 965 Expo Group of Handicrafts and Heritage Exhibitions launched a social media initiative to call on Kuwaitis, Gulf people and residents to celebrate the event in a creative way by posting pictures of children celebrating in their homes, wearing traditional clothes to win valuable prizes.
“Gargee’an is an old Kuwaiti tradition that people used to celebrate for decades, but this year the circumstances are different because of coronavirus,” Mohamed Kamal, head of the 965 Expo team, said.
“Our team decided to urge and motivate people to enjoy it inside homes by posting pictures of their children on social media,” he added.
Moreover, the team launched an entertainment initiative called “Qatawi” on social media.
The word “Qatawi” means puzzles in the Kuwaiti accent. The initiative is a game for children and adults presented by heritage researchers and historians to test people’s knowledge of Kuwaiti heritage.
Kamal stressed the importance of such initiatives to raise the spirit and support the psychological side that affects children in-home quarantine who have been pushed away from playing outside and going to school.
Under current circumstances, many rely on such celebrations to break the daily routine.
Samar Abbas, a Syrian resident who was born in Kuwait, is keen to celebrate Gargee’an every year to remember the tradition of her childhood.
“This year will not be an exception, I have prepared to celebrate it with my children at home,” she told Xinhua.
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