Hol,Hol – Let’s celebrate birthday!

Muscat, Jan 24 – The promotion of tradition has been an integral part of Muscat Festival since its inception. In a traditional house at the Heritage Village at Al Amerat Park, one of the major venues of the festival this year, the scene is set for a birthday celebration.
The first birthday is a grand celebration, in which children play a major role. The music is rhythmic. Almost anyone can sing the chorus even if they do not know Arabic language. The chorus just says, ‘Hol, Hol’, which means ‘year’.
Children sing while showering the birthday baby with popcorn and coins. Sometimes chocolates are also used.
“I arranged for ‘Hol, Hol’ when my child completed one year. It is one of our traditions and we are proud to continue it.
‘Hol’ means completion of one year. These days, birthday bags are distributed among children. Usually the baby is dressed in traditional clothes,” said Zakiya al Hussaini.
The mother usually stands or sits in the middle, carrying the child or keeping the little one on the lap.
Both the mother and the child are covered with ‘Lahaf’, a scarf. It serves as protection while they are being showered upon with popcorn, coins and candies.
And children rush to collect the goodies from the ground. They compete with each other for collecting the most.
It would be interesting if there are one-year-olds in the crowds visiting the festival as they can celebrate their birthday in a traditional manner.
Children dressed in traditional attire and accompanied by a senior person perform this tradition every day to the delight of visitors.
The festival also has a place where a woman is selling dolls dressed in traditional costumes. She has bags, which are miniature costumes, in different patterns, including Suri designs with strings and mobile phone holders, which were a big hit with the visitors.

Lakshmi Kothaneth