Hag al Leila – A Sweet Celebration

Unique Ramadan Traditions - A Series


Haq Al Laila or Haq Leila is an integral custom of the Emirati traditions. The day is celebrated in many Gulf countries, but the UAE has a special place for this day. Now, what is Haq Al Laila? Read on and find out about this beautiful tradition.

The Tradition of Haq Al Laila

Kids from all the families dress up and carry specially woven and tailored beautiful colorful bags. They wake up early in the night and visit houses in the neighborhood. The kids knock on each door and sing different songs, and chants till the householder opens the door and wishes them best for the occasion and offers them sweets and chocolates.

The kids usually sing “Aatoona Allah yatek bet Makkah Ywdekom” in Arabic which translates to “give us something so god will bless you and give you more in return.” The real name for the occasion is Aatoona Haq Laila, which means “give us for this blessed night.”


The many names of Haq Leila

  • Lailatul Biraat
  • Lailatul Dua
  • Nim Sha’ban in Afghanistan and Iran
  • Nisf Sha’ban in Arabic-speaking countries
  • Nisfu Sya’ban in Malay-speaking countries
  • Shab e Bira’at in South Asia, where it means the ‘Night of Emancipation’
  • Berat Kandili in Turkish

What makes Hag El Laila special?

It is believed that this is the night when God changed the direction to pray in Mecca. Others believe it is a blessed night as it comes after Rajab and before Ramadan, both of the months are very auspicious.

Irrespective of the belief and meaning, Haq Al Laila is an exceptional occasion and kids play a significant role in the celebrations as they are the hope for a better tomorrow.

Not only the locals but expats are also invited to participate as it strengthens the societal bonds and family relationships. The streets fill with children’s laughter and singing on Haq Al Laila is a must experience for visitors.

When is Haq El Laila celebrated?

The tradition of Haq Al Laila is celebrated on the 15th of Sha’ban, the month before Ramadan. The children step out for their sweet treats after Maghrib prayers.

Where does Haq Al Laila take place?

Haq Al Laila is celebrated all over UAE with great pomp. It is celebrated in other countries as well, but is known by other names. In Kuwait & Saudi Arabia it is called Gargean, in Qatar it is Garangao, in Bahrain the festivities are named Gergaoon, whereas in Oman it is Garangesho/ Qarnqashouh.

Want to know other Ramadan traditions as well? Have a look at:
Padusan – The cleaning ritual!
The Night Callers
The Story Tellers
Cleansing Ritual
Firing Canons

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