Camel parade at Expo City Dubai, sweets and treats across UAE to celebrate Hag Al Leila

Hag Al Leila celebrates the mid of the month of Shaaban – the month that precedes Ramadan in the Islamic Hijri calendar

by

Lamya Tawfik

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The Haq Al Laila Camel Parade on Ghaf Avenue, Expo Citu Dubai. Photo: Supplied
The Haq Al Laila Camel Parade on Ghaf Avenue, Expo Citu Dubai. Photo: Supplied

Published: Wed 1 Mar 2023, 5:34 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Mar 2023, 8:38 PM

Fancy seeing a parade of thoroughbred camels? Head to Expo City every day from March 3 to 5.

The parade, which will be held every day at 6:45 pm will kickoff the ‘Hai Ramadan’ celebrations taking place throughout the month of Ramadan till April 25. During the parade, children will receive sweets and treats – in true Hag Al Leila spirit.


Hag Al Leila celebrates the mid of the month of Shaaban – the month that precedes the month of Ramadan in the Islamic Hijri calendar. Traditionally, children go through their neighbourhoods singing special songs and are given goodie bags filled with treats from their neighbours.

Celebrations for Hag Al Leila are also currently taking place at the Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood till March 7. Activities that celebrate the Emirati heritage are being organised for the 12 day-long celebration, including Freej Feast held in cooperation between Dubai Culture and Dubai Municipality, and Mkhawar Lounge, which displays locally-created products. Visitors can also learn about the traditional henna designs, ‘al ghamsa’, ‘alqasa’ and ‘alruwaieb’, during dedicated henna design workshops.


Between March 2 and 5 there will be several drop-in workshops, especially ones dedicated to children, such as lantern making – which will continue throughout the month of Ramadan. Another workshop is bag decorations where children can adorn their fabric bags with traditional fabrics and designs.

A special program for school children has also been organised by Dubai culture for March 6 and 7 in which students will be taken on a tour of the Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood, and will visit the Beauty and Adornment House where they will learn about local adornment traditions and traditional costumes. Their visit will also include a stop at the People and Faith house, where they will learn about the Emirati heritage and society. To learn about Emirati handicrafts such as Burqa sewing and Al Talli, school children will participate in workshops held at the Turath Centre for Traditional Handicrafts.

According to Abdalla Al Obeidli, Acting Manager of Al Shindagha Museum at Dubai Culture, it is important to spread awareness with regards to local customs and traditions. “Celebrating Hag Al Leila reflects our keenness to bring local heritage to the hearts of children, document their relationship with Emirati history, and introduce them to our customs and traditions,” he said.

On March 4 and 5, children will get the chance to go on a 30-minute tour of Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood, holding their bags, known as “Khayrat’, singing songs, and collecting sweets.

On March 7, school students can also participate in a ‘treasure hunt’-style Mid-Sha’aban competition at Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood and Hatta Heritage Village. Her, they will be given questions, and must find the answers by roaming the venues.

In Abu Dhabi, Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa will also be celebrating Hag Al Leila on March 6 by holding workshops for children, in which they will design their own tote bags before singing traditional songs in the site to collect sweets.

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