Freej Aspire’s celebration of Garangao attracted as many as 8,000 people on Sunday evening, welcoming families and well-wishers to the event.
Dressed in traditional wear, children lined up and made their way around the Freej to receive candies and other Garangao gifts while singing the traditional Garangao song.
According to Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF), the activity “contributed to the wonderful display of culture and heritage.”
The Freej Aspire stage hosted several shows and competitions, including a session by the Raqi group, magic shows, religious chants and a storytelling session that had both parents and children engaged.
Zafer Hassan al-Shahrani, a young participant, who came with his brothers, said "the traditional design of Freej Aspire, reminds us of our ancestors and how the celebrations of Garangao looked like in the past.”
“Freej Aspire is the ideal place for kids and adults since it is equipped with many facilities that the audience finds comforting, including food outlets and traditional artworks,” he noted. “It is family-friendly and has a dedicated space to exhibit and promote a number of Qatari initiatives.”
Abdullah Afifi, who came with his children, said: “Freej Aspire is a place where all members of the family can get together.”
“The kids are very happy, getting sweets and enjoying their time in the sports and traditional games zones. We would like to visit Freej Aspire throughout the year,” he added.
Essa Obaid, who also came with his family, said: “We have celebrated Garangao since we were little kids and Freej Aspire offers our children an opportunity to enjoy and explore our traditions, just as we did years ago.”
“What attracted us is the family-friendly atmosphere, the safe, air-conditioned location and the many services on offer here.”
The Freej first opened its doors on the sixth of Ramadan, revealing a zone aimed at reviving Qatari traditions and culture in front of attending VIPs, dignitaries, personalities and members of the local community.
Visitors to the Freej commended the authenticity of its recreation of Qatari heritage, its air-conditioned open air setting, and its support of Qatari small and medium entrepreneurs.
The innovative idea for Freej came about last year and its location, a fan-zone used originally to pilot the cooling technology that is being developed as part of Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In 2014, the zone was used to organise AZF’s Garangao celebration and the success of that event led to the inception of a full-fledged Freej Aspire in 2015, offering members of the local community a programme of activity focused on Qatari heritage, local culture and sports in observance of the holy month.
The success of this first edition of Freej presented organisers with the incentive to host it again in 2016.
To cater to all interests, AZF added family activities to last year’s programme, including children’s workshops on Arabic calligraphy and graffiti, and offered spaces for 22 Qatari SMEs to exhibit products and services.
While the local community is already heavily involved in Freej every year, AZF is keen to continue incorporating new elements into the programme to attract a wider number of local community members to join the celebrations.
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