Monday, July 14, 2014

Girgian Kuwait

KUWAIT: Kuwaitis still celebrate the ancient tradition of Girgian, which is a celebration for children held on the 13th, 14th and 15th of the holy month of Ramadan. Similar traditions are also observed in some other GCC countries, but with different names. With rapid modernization, this tradition has changed very much. During these three days, kids used to go roaming in their neighborhood, knocking on doors of the houses and singing songs with the name of the son living in the house, and parents gave these kids sweets and sometimes coins.

The kids used to collect it in a bag hanging on their neck, and always wore special costumes for this occasion. In the present time, Girgian has become an occasion for showing off, as parents buy expensive packs of sweets of popular brands, and some of them even put gold inside the pack. So now when kids knock the door, they will receive a packet instead of few candies, nuts or lollypops. Parents have also expanded this tradition to distribute Girgian packages to friends and relatives with the name of their son or daughter. Some parents even distribute it at their workplaces to their colleagues. Some families organize celebrations at their homes and print invitation cards to invite guests.
In the past, the mother or grandmother used to make the costume for the kids to wear during Girgian, but currently, these costumes are sold at various markets and exhibitions. Hundreds of designs from different materials are available in the market, especially Souq Mubarakiya in Kuwait City. Some Kuwaiti historians have mentioned that due to poverty in Kuwait during the pre-oil era, people didn’t have enough resources, so Girgian was celebrated only on one night – the 15th of Ramadan. Children roamed between the houses banging on drums or empty boxes to make some noise accompanying their songs. Nowadays, various authorities and organizations hold Girgian celebrations for children, which usually includes entertainment activities, competitions, prizes and other activities. By Nawara Fattahova
This is the first year since I've lived in Kuwait that I heard the pounding of drums and the kids singing. If you live in a Kuwaiti neighborhood you will know what I'm talking about, I've always lived in apartment buildings in the Fintas area with mainly expats so I never saw them singing. It was nice to see some traditions still be followed in a modern way.


  1. We had family celebration and it was fun to see all the kids singing- some of the girgian boxes were tremendous too. Then some local kids came knocking and my mother in law set up her chair at the door to watch them - fab.
    My favourite part is when I catch my husband tucking into a bag of it secretly like a naughty school boy.....

  2. That's awesome, your lucky you get to be involved with the fam :)


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