The events of the Garangao Market, organized by the Ministry of Culture in Darb Al Saai in the Umm Salal area, have witnessed remarkable public turnout until next Sunday. This reflects their keenness to revive the authentic folk heritage, highlighting the importance of hosting such events on this occasion, which attracts notable attention, especially given its diversity. The activities include segments on traditional games, Al- Mutawa )The First Teacher(, Suhoor, competitions, and others, all of which receive notable interaction from children and their families.
Among the segments of the Garangao Market is the “Al- Mutawa” segment, presented by the artist Mohammed Hassan Al-Mahmoudi. It’s a daily traditional segment for children that embodies the character of “Al- Mutawa” who gathers children around him in traditional heritage clothing.
Artist Mohammed Hassan Al-Mahmoudi expresses his happiness to participate in these events, evoking the depth of Qatari heritage amidst an atmosphere of faith and tradition, as he chants the sweetest words in Darb Al-Saai. He resonates in Darb Al Saai with the purest words, invoking authentic heritage among children, drawing from its source to take them back to the legacy and history of their ancestors.
Community Memory
Al-Mahmoudi describes such events to “Al-Sharq” as important, evoking the authenticity of Qatari heritage, highlighting the deeply rooted customs and traditions in the community’s memory, in addition to highlighting popular art, in a purely Ramadan atmosphere.
He says: “I am keen on performing the character of ” Al- Mutawa”, who presents to children their deep-rooted heritage and educates them about it. I was the first to perform this character, which disappeared from the scene after the emergence of oil. I had the honor of being the first to introduce it, and I always strive to present this character from time to time, as it is one of the most important characters I portray.”
He recalls the role of ” Al- Mutawa ” and emphasizes that he was the one who used to teach children how to read the Quran in the village, in addition to teaching them some educational lessons. When the children finish reading the Quran, Al- Mutawa performs a special chant (the “Tahmeedah” ceremony) to celebrate these children who have completed the Quran. After that, the children who have memorized the Quran wear traditional attire such as the bisht (clothing), a ghutrah (or keffiyeh), and Agal (accessory), and they are given a small sword as a symbol of manhood. Then, Al- Mutawa leads them at the front, followed by the rest of the village children. Al- Mutawa praises those who have completed memorizing the Quran and leads the others in prayer behind them, creating a spiritual and traditional atmosphere.”
Heritage documentation
The artist Mohammed Hassan Al-Mahmoudi describes the character of ” Al- Mutawa” as “an important figure in our lives, with a significant impact on our authentic Qatari heritage. That’s why I am keen on embodying it, documenting our rich Qatari heritage, preserving it from disappearance, and reviving it among the current generation and future generations.” He says, “I always strive to revive this character and protect it from disappearance. I work diligently to preserve this heritage and revive it among the current generation, connecting it to their heritage and instilling beautiful and popular customs and traditions in their souls. “Especially since this character is still deeply ingrained in memory, yet I am keen on continuously developing the performance of this character, time after time. I don’t say on occasion after another, as this character always accompanies me, and I am very happy with it.”
Among the phrases repeated by children behind ” Al- Mutawa ” are: “Praise be to Allah who guided us to the religion of Islam and chose us, Glory be to Him, the Creator, with His grace He taught us the Qur’an. We praise Him and His right to be praised, praise that cannot be counted, through the length of nights and time, eternally. I bear witness that Allah is One, and His Messenger, the most honored prophet.
Reviving Traditional Heritage
One of the activities in the ” Garangao Market” event is the traditional folk games section, aimed at introducing children to this folk heritage, thus enhancing their connection to it, as well as stimulating their intelligence and attention.
Mr. Abdulaziz Abdullah Al-Subai’i, from the traditional games team at the Garangao Market event in Darb Al Saai, explains that he participates in the activities through the traditional games group. He describes these games as simple and collective, aiming to convey a message to children about the importance of teamwork, as well as providing entertainment and introducing them to this traditional heritage.
Regarding the types of these games, they include tug of war, fishing, tag, sack race, ” bar bahr (sea crossing), and “taq taqiyya” (a spinning top game), accompanied by folk songs. The children’s enthusiasm for these games is notable, as it takes them away from harmful electronic games, provides them with time for fostering teamwork, and offers them entertainment, joy, and happiness.