Haq Al Laila or Haq Leila is an integral custom of the Emirati traditions. The tradition of Haq Al Laila is celebrated on the 15th of Sha’ban, the month before Ramadan. The day is celebrated in many Gulf countries, but the UAE has a special place for this day.
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 real name for the occasion is Aatoona Haq Laila, which means “give us for this blessed night.”
The many names of Haq Leila
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
The Belief behind Haq Leila
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.
Want to know other Ramadan traditions as well? Have a look at Padusan – The cleaning ritual!