Hag El Laila – The Sweet Celebration of a Blessed Night

The UAE is a country full of rich culture and traditions that have been followed and celebrated for many years. Emiratis and even residents in the UAE make sure that the vibrant history of the nation isn’t lost by passing down its fascinating traditions and stories to the next generation.

Hag El Laila is one such important local celebration. This tradition is followed in neighboring Arab countries as well, where it goes by other names.

When is Hag El Laila celebrated?

Many traditional days in the UAE are celebrated according to when they land on the Hijri Islamic calendar. Hag El Laila falls on the Hijri Date of the 15th of Shabaan, which is the eight month of the Islamic year, and is followed by the holy month of Ramadan. Celebrations for this occasion begin in the evening, after sunset.

What makes Hag El Laila special?

The kids on this occasion go around from one house to another singing:”Aatoona Hag Laila”, which means “give us for this blessed night”. It is a spiritually uplifting event and helps Muslims prepare for the great month of Ramadan ahead.

The celebration embodies the spirit of generosity and tolerance. It teaches children the significance of being in a community and the act of giving as everyone comes together to enjoy the occasion.

Now for the ‘Sweet’ bit – how Hag El Laila is celebrated

Children play a significant role during this traditional evening and are especially excited for the celebrations. They dress up in traditional clothes and carry colorful woven bags while they go from door to door singing in Arabic;

“Atona Allah yatek bet Makkah Ywdekom” which translates to “give us something so that God will give you something and bless you with visiting Makkah”

Their enthusiasm is rewarded by neighbors handing out candy and local sweets to fill up their woven bags. The night usually ends with children sitting around and enjoying the sweets they collected.

Adults take part in the celebrations as well. Most families get together and visit other relatives and friends to congratulate each other on the blessed day.

Due to Covid 19 safety regulations this year, celebrations will be more homely. We are sure to miss celebrating with the neighbors and the entire community, but the night will still be enjoyed. Children can dress up and collect sweets from family members instead of from different houses, and adults can greet relatives and friends through joyous video calls until it is safe for everyone to meet in person.

We hope that you too can enjoy Hag El Laila from the comfort of your home and find it to be a truly blessed night.

Don’t forget to share this article with a friend or family member who has always asked about this tradition but never really understood it!

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Ghazia Bhojani is a young, aspiring writer based in Dubai. Her writing covers a range of topics including the arts, mental health and lifestyle.

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