KUWAIT CITY, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Kuwaitis are well prepared for the holy month of Ramadan, with cooperative societies and markets competing to provide the best offers on various goods to attract consumers.
"I try to buy all my needs so as to give time to other priorities such as reading the Holy Quran and going to the mosque to perform Taraweeh prayer with my family members," Munira Mohammad, a mother of four children, told Xinhua at the Jabriya Cooperative Society in Hawalli Governorate.
She is one of many housewives in Kuwait who are keen to prepare for the month of Ramadan, where they buy new utensils, decorations and tablecloths for the holy month.
Muadi Saad, a local Kuwait woman, believes that change is necessary to bring joy to a family and highlight the importance and uniqueness of Ramadan.
The Kuwaiti Ramadan table will always have the traditional dishes such as "Harees" which is the main dish made of mashed wheat with meat and served with powder sugar, margarine, and cinnamon.
"Tashreeb" is a Kuwaiti traditional dish containing broth-soaked bread topped with meat or vegetables. The "Jareesh" dish is made of wheat and chicken.
As for Kuwaiti dessert, "luqaimat" is made of milk, cardamom, margarine, saffron and brewed dough. Then it will be fried in oil, and you can put on syrup, in addition to different types of Kunafa (shredded pastry dough and cheese smothered with syrup).
Kuwait is known for its "Naqsa," where every housewife is keen to send some of her cooking to neighbors. The practice, which is based on exchanging Ramadan dishes or sweets before Maghrib prayer, makes neighbors close.
During the first days of Ramadan, Kuwaiti houses start to organize the Al-Ghabqa. Al-Ghabqa is a Ramadan evening that begins after the Taraweeh prayer at around 10 p.m. and sometimes continues to the Fajr prayer till 3 a.m.. Where the Kuwaitis meet not only to eat the food, but also to strengthen their social relations.
Companies, private institutions, government agencies, and even embassies organize Al-Ghabqa in Ramadan in the same way as Kuwaitis.
"The Kuwaitis got Al-Ghabqa tradition inherited the habit of their ancestors, where people used to chat and strengthen their relationships away of pressures of work and life," Journalist Muadi Al-Muftah told Xinhua.
Women also have their own Al-Ghabqa where they stay all night, wearing the fanciest Daraa, which is a traditional Kuwaiti dress, with colored designs.
Mai Hassan, a Kuwaiti woman, told Xinhua that every year, she buys new and special Daraa to attend Ramadan Al-Ghabqa.
"One of our most beautiful tradition is the Al-Ghabqa, where Kuwaiti women are keen to show their beauty through fine designs for the month of Ramadan," she said.
Before the start of the month of Ramadan, shops in Kuwait displayed new Kuwaiti designs, which often have long dress models with bright colors such as red, green and yellow.
Kuwaitis celebrate Gargean in the middle of the holy month. Gargean is marked with children dressing in traditional attire and going door-to-door to receive sweets and nuts from neighbors while singing traditional songs.
During the event, the children put bags on their chests to collect sweets.
Mothers in Kuwait compete to have the best sweets and nicest boxes full of candy and nuts.
There is a lot of humanitarian work in Kuwait during the month of Ramadan, where the mosques provide free hot meals for workers and poor people, while some voluntary and charitable associations distribute meals to workers who are in their workplaces during Iftar time especially at workers of gas stations.
Kuwaiti families are also keen to share food with passers-by while some restaurants open their doors to fasting people for free.
Before the start of Ramadan, Kuwaitis celebrate the day of Graish, where family members gather to have the last meal before fasting. Private and public institutions also celebrate Graish like Al-Ghabqa.