Hag Al Laila - A 'sweet' celebration returns

Hag Al Laila - A sweet celebration returns
Children receiving sweets during Hag Al Leila celebrations in Sharjah. - KT file photo

Dubai - Hag Al Laila falls on the 15th day of the month of Sha'aban and this year, it falls on May 11

By Anita Iyer

Published: Tue 9 May 2017, 10:46 PM

Last updated: Wed 10 May 2017, 3:56 PM

Before the holy month of Ramadan begins, UAE residents celebrate the day of Hag Al Laila as a precursor to the holy month.
Hag Al Laila falls on the 15th day of the month of Sha'aban and this year, it falls on May 11.
Today, on the eve of Hag Al Laila, children will visit Emirati neighbourhoods across UAE with the message - "Aatona Allah Yutikom, Bait Makkah Yudikum", which in Arabic means, "Give us and Allah will reward you and help you visit the House of Allah in Makkah." They shall be showered with sweets as they go around singing.
Even government departments in the country mark the occasion by distributing sweets. It serves as a testament to the strong family bonds and values in the country.
Hag Al Laila is one of the many traditions inherited by the Emiratis from their ancestors. Recollecting her childhood, Emirati Pilates advocate Asma Hilal Lootah said: "My mother used to stitch a handmade cloth bag that we carried with us while visiting homes to collect sweets. It is an old tradition that is still followed among Emirati families. Now, these stitched bags along with sweets are available to be bought and Hag Al Laila is usually spent with families."
While the day will be celebrated today in the UAE, it is observed during Ramadan in other Gulf countries.
Traditional sweets
If you are looking for places to buy, you can find the traditional sweets at the Iranian shops in Bur Dubai.
We found a Savethedate florist selling Hag Al Laila basket and trays in Karama, Dubai. They are filled with candies, traditional Arabic sweets, the Indian jalebis and fresh flowers. While the basket is priced at Dh80, you can buy the trays for Dh150.

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