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The "hunt" for sweets is open, or the Muslim "Halloween"

21.03.2023 | 19:57 |
 The "hunt" for sweets is open, or the Muslim "Halloween"

Every year before the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan/Muslims around the world, celebrate the beginning of fasting with national customs that have a religious context. Therefore, in Turkmenistan, you can see how children, gathering in small groups, go home singing a familiar quatrain.

Such "walking" lasts three days before the main Muslim fast. The Turkmen people, who had close cultural and historical ties with their southern neighbors, borrowed this tradition, reminiscent of Celtic Halloween or Slavic "kolyada", from the countries of the Persian Gulf, but with one difference: among the Arabs, such children's "tours" begin in two weeks.

Such a holiday is called "Haq al layla". In Bahrain, for example, it is called "Karangao", and in Oman – "Karnaksho". It is on these days that children dress up, take bags and collect small gifts and sweets. At the same time, they must utter the phrase: "Give us a gift, and God will reward you with a visit to the Kaaba!". Such children's "chants" are currently reflected in modern UAE.


The Emirates not only preserved this tradition, but also popularized it in their country so much that "Haq al Laylah" became an integral part of a string of rituals and celebrations dedicated to Ramadan. A similar tradition still exists today in some parts of Iran and Central Asia.

In Turkmenistan, the "candy hunt" has also acquired a traditional character. These three days before fasting are called "YaRemezan", while the holy month itself is called "Oraza". Many Turkmen citizens stock up on sweets, cookies and other sweets in advance. And the "unprepared" are caught by surprise by children knocking on the door with bags in their hands and shouting out a very old, but noticeably changed stanza of Muslim texts. At the end of each "hike", both Arab and Turkmen children compete in who has collected the most sweets.

The main purpose of these celebrations is to consolidate the values of compassion, goodwill and solidarity in the minds of the younger generation. By the way, this is one of the Muslim holidays in which the role of children is demonstratively emphasized from the point of view of the social group for which each of us is responsible.


However, in a secular state, which is Turkmenistan, an ordinary person, detached from the deep knowledge of Muslim traditions and customs, may get confused when he opens the door and sees a dozen of these very children. This is, perhaps, the case when traditions themselves affect a person, and not he them. At such moments, not everyone will be able to react correctly and promptly. In this turmoil, the little messengers of pure will sometimes get the wrong thing they wanted. It is better to "buy off" with small denomination bills than to distribute sweets or stale gingerbread that have been lying around since the New Year. The other part of the unprepared population simply ignores the "gangs" of underage compatriots, who in the next three days will increase the likelihood of caries.

In order to make this fun tradition safer for all parties in this "blessing – candy" barter transaction, ORIENT recommends following the following rules:

1) Limit the number of sweets and focus on buying fruits or berries. They need to be washed, you can cut them into pieces and pre-packaged in bags. It will be both more useful and more profitable. If you give candy to children, then they should only be wrapped.

2) Bills or coins should be given only if you do not have anything edible that could be distributed. In addition, after the very distribution of money, you should immediately hurry to buy, because most likely the children will come to you again, but now with a more inclusive composition.

3) Do not buy gum. It is better to buy marmalade, marshmallows, syrup-based lollipops or cookies.

4) If you are a parent of one of these children, do not forget that it is not recommended to walk late, no matter how exciting this activity may seem. After all, the biggest "catch" is from 18:00 to 20:00.

5) Do not give away what you have prepared yourself if you are not sure of your gastronomic abilities. The body of children may simply not be prepared for your desserts.

Adhering to such elementary tips, you will be able to make the eve of the holy fast safer and more useful. Moreover, considering that these days coincided with the spring holiday of Novruz, they can be brightened up with a family vacation in nature or a visit to cultural and entertainment events.

Arslan Mamedov


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