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Muslim Children look
forward to Qaranqasho
( This article was published in Oman Daily Observer, Oman's most prestigious Newspapers.The article is reproduced with the permission of the author )
By Hasan Kamoonpuri
Muslim children are not
required to fast until they reach the age of maturity. However, in many
families, younger children enjoy participating and are encouraged to practice
their fasting. It is common for a younger child to fast for part of a day, or
for one day on Fridays.
Observing a child's first Ramadhan fast is a special event that families around
the world celebrate with time-honoured customs. The family centres activities
around the child, especially during parties and celebrations held at the end of
the fasting day.
At such events, all of the child's family and friends gather together to help
the youngster get through the first day-long fast. And although they begin
preparing the boys and girls several days in advance, it is the child who
decides when he or she is ready to fast. Children aren't forced to fast. They do
it when they feel properly ready, and on top of this, the knowledge that there
will be a special party just for them is extra motivation.
For grown-up children, who complete their first 14 days of fasting, a special
celebration called Qaranqasho is held throughout Oman. Each year Qaranqasho is
celebrated on the 14th day of Ramadhan, which falls on August 25 this year.
Hotel, banks, auto showrooms, charity organisations and families throughout Oman
hold events to felicitate children who undertook fasting.
Qaranqasho events generally receive a huge response from children, and their
parents. Parents are delighted to be a part of these festivities because it
encourages their children to perform fasting as a proactive activity.
Qaranqasho shows are a huge success and prove to be a favourite for not just the
children but all family members with activities including henna, face painting,
balloon art, clown activities, giveaways and a talk on the spiritual, physical,
psychological, and social growth and maturity from fasting.
Each Qaranqasho event is different in terms of activities interesting contests,
distribution of gifts, various other games and opportunities that give
leadership roles to children.
For the children who are begun fasting for the first time, special events are
organised at homes, mosques and social clubs. At these events, guests bring
gifts for the child and boost his/her morale.
Qaranqasho celebrations are aimed at appreciating and encouraging children who
Al Noor Hall in Madinat Sultan Qaboos is all set to host a Qaranqasho event on
August 26. Many similar events set for August 25 in different parts of the
country will attract a huge turnout of children along with their families.
A common question asked on these occasions is should younger children fast
during Ramadhan? Indeed they can, although fasting is not obligatory for them.
In fact, many children even as young as five are encouraged to fast for a few
hours a day during Ramadhan to begin to appreciate the significance of the
month. As they get a little older, most families encourage their children under
12 to fast for half a day, until they enter adulthood, when all Muslim children
are expected to fast for the full dawn to dusk period.
Through fasting and Salah (five times daily prayer), the children learn that
this is programming for being steady on the path of righteousness and obedience
to the commandments of Allah the Most Exalted and Glorified.
In some Qaranqasho contests, children are asked to write one or two benefits of
fasting such as taqwa (God-consciousness), self-control, self-awareness,
patience, charity, kindness, empathy with the needy and oppressed people,
sincerity, forgiveness, blessings, cohesion in society, and a better
understanding of the Glorious Quran.
Children are also told about what is Fasting? Islamic fasting is refraining from
eating, drinking, smoking, conjugal relations and all bad thoughts, sights and
sounds from dawn to sunset during the month. This is a training and programming
so that one develops self-restraint, will power, resolve and understanding to
refrain from activities not amenable with Islam and thus shut the door to all
temptations and evil things.
Just as abstaining from food and drinks is a must, fasting also involves
abstaining from evil intentions and desires. It is hoped organisers will make
their Qaranqasho celebrations more lively, meaningful and significant by
including a talk and quiz on Ramadhan fasting for children.