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Girgian: Gulf’s very own ‘trick or treat’ tradition

local4People have been preparing for Ramadan for almost a month now with special Ramadan baskets and Girgian treats. Girgian is part of the Gulf region's tradition during the holy month of Ramadan where kids are given special sweets and candies. People here mark the 13th, 14th and 15th of Ramadan as special days for this tradition where children dress up and go door to door wishing neighbors and collecting treats (mostly candies) but also money and toys.

Children are given candies during ghabqas or if Ramadan falls on school days, kids are usually treated with parties in schools/clubs in the Girgian tradition. Big companies usually prepare a huge number of special Girgian packages to be given away to children while some organize parties for them too.

These are the happiest days for kids, as one hardly see them at late-night ghabqas but during these three days, kids are almost everywhere asking people to give them some candies and toys. Umm Hamad, a Kuwaiti mother of three at Mubarakiya Market shopping for Girgian boxes, admitted the Girgian tradition is becoming popular year after year, not only in the Arabian Peninsula but in some countries in Asia too. It is a tradition which started in the Gulf but is now slowly spreading throughout the Muslim world. Girgian containers (boxes) are also specially designed to fit the class of children they are catered to. "It is not a must to be put sweets in special packages, but because it's considered a gift, they are creating special designs for it," Umm Hamad noted.

Kuwait Times visited Mubarakiya Market and saw colorful Girgian boxes on display. They are not very expensive compared to last year. "The prices are almost the same as last year; there is no movement," Um Hamad confirmed. Rafiq, one of the owners of the Girgian stalls in Mubarakiya, said apart from retail sales, his company accepts bulk orders from big companies here. "I have thousands of boxes ordered - these on display are just a few remaining from orders we have delivered to companies," mentioned Rafiq.

The colorful Girgian boxes are usually ordered from China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Some of them are not just colorful but are also decorated with artistic designs of the Arabian Peninsula. The prices of Girgian boxes/baskets depend on size and design. The more complicated the design, the more expansive it is. Small plain Girgian baskets are sold at 750 fils while the same ones in color go for KD 1-KD 2 depending on the designs.

By Ben Garcia, Staff Writer

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This article was published on 18/07/2013