DOHA: Ramadan traditions that preserved and strengthened social and family ties in the past have changed with the passage of time and the advent of communications technology.
The tradition of visiting relatives and neighbours to exchange greetings and goodies has mostly vanished from the Qatari community, say observers.
They blame the social media, mobile phones and television for hijacking the time that family members, relatives and neighbours used to spend together, according to Al Sharq.
Some observers noted that while people now claim to have busy lives, they spend more time than ever on shopping and travelling abroad.
The young generation is largely ignorant about old traditions, which can now be seen only in less busy places like Al Shamal, said Asma Al Fadhala, a Qatari social activist.
“Socialising and interaction among family members was very important during Ramadan in the old days. Our forefathers carried out all social responsibilities, because they knew it has a very important impact on society. But the new generation focuses more on electronic devices and communication, ignoring the family and traditional responsibilities,” she said.
“They don’t know the values we followed during Ramadan. Electronic devices have destroyed social life. Most families distribute food and goodies to strangers than to neighbours because some even feel shy carrying them door to door,” she added.
Visiting neighbours and relatives, gathering at a ‘majlis’ and conversing over traditional food is of little importance to the younger generation.
“Some don’t know their extended family... they claim to be busy. Many find time to travel abroad and go shopping, but not to visit relatives and neighbours. At least during the month of Ramadan or during special days like Eid people should spend time for preserving traditions, or the bonds will be destroyed,” said Moza Rashid Al Badher, a researcher in heritage and social issues.
Social links have been disrupted because members of one tribe or extended family live in different places, according to Esa Al Mullah, a Qatari researcher.
“Now, many social and cultural values don’t remain as before. In the early days, family ties were strong as they lived in the same area, and it helped keep traditions.
“But now, members of one family are scattered and living in different places. But electronic devices are creating distance even among people living in the same neighbourhood,” he added.