No Tricks, Only Treats for Hag Al Laila Tradition in the UAE

February 25, 2024

Emiratis ensure that the rich culture and fascinating traditions of their nation are passed down to the next generation. Hag Al Leila is one such important tradition practiced every year before the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

Hag Al Laila, a traditional celebration in the UAE, takes place on the night of the 15th of Sha’ban, which is the eight eighth of the Islamic lunar calendar and is followed by the pious month of Ramadan. Children go door-to-door around Emirati neighborhoods reciting “Atoona Hag Al Laila”, which means “Give us sweets for tonight”. This ritual of treating children to sweets is an age old tradition that marks the arrival of Ramadan

Celebrations for this occasion usually begin in the evening. Kids from Arabian families dress up in traditional attire and carry specially woven colorful bags visiting houses across the neighborhood. Knocking on each door and chanting songs “Aatoona Allah yatek bet Makkah Ywdekom” which in Arabic translates to “Give us something so god will bless you in return” they present their bags for collection of sweets. Families offer them sweets, candies, chocolates and dry fruits and wish them good luck on the occasion. In some exceptional cases, even small gifts and money are given with joy.

In preparation for this tradition, many Emirati families throng supermarkets and groceries to buy traditional sweets and nuts to welcome and distribute them to the children who visit their homes. Irrespective of religion or nationality, kids are welcomed in the celebrations as they are the hope for a better tomorrow. This is the beauty of the Emirates embracing people from all walks of life, spreading love and kindness throughout. This spiritually uplifting event brings communities together, strengthens societal bonds and helps Muslims prepare for the great month of Ramadan ahead. This cheerful and thoughtful gesture of distributing sweets also reminds children about their cultural and religious heritage and motivates them to continue this joyful tradition each year.

We hope that this year you too send your kids around the neighborhood asking for goodie bags of sweets so that they truly enjoy the tradition of Hag Al Laila on a blessed night. If you found this article interesting, kindly share it with your friends, relatives or colleagues whose kids would be glad to know and participate in this beautiful Emirati tradition.

Disclaimer: The stories are a work of fiction based on facts. Identies and details may have been altered to suit the narrative.