One interlocutor is a gent whose ramshackle carnival rides are used during popular religious festivals (or moulids
, where Sufi perform their dthikr), who's frustrated by Salafi Muslims' aggressive forbidding of amusements like this.
We are sure to stop at the railway station in Tanta, now restored to its original glory, and from the train we will catch a glimpse of the Mosque of Ahmed Sayyed Al-Badawi, the scene of one of Egypt's most famous moulids
"The explanation made by the authorities to cancel moulids
(religious festivals) is unconvincing," said Al Hussaini Abdul Hassan, the chief of Al Jawharia Sufi order.
Especially Copts who had moved to the cities from the countryside missed their annual moulids
(festivals for the saints) and ziarah (pilgrimages).
Hundreds of moulids
take place around Egypt every year to honour popular Sufi saints.
Throughout the years, Al-Aragouz widely spread among all social classes, and became an inseparable part of different Prophet bith celebrations, also known as Moulids
. It started fading away with the appearance of animation shows TV.
Plastic bags of blessed water in Musturud church in August 2016 -- Hassan Mohamed Notably, the Assumption of the Virgin is celebrated by millions of Christians and Muslims alike at the church every August in a festive event called "moulid
in Egypt celebrate the birth of iconic Islamic or Christian figures and are attended by the followers of the two religions, although more of the followers of one religion attend their respective moulid
are something very Egyptian, with their own unique flavour.
Some religious conservatives also dislike Sufi moulids
-- festivals celebrating the birthdays of saints that have become carnival-like events popular even among non-Sufis in Egypt.
As most men learn the steps by heart, it has become a cultural dance that is practiced during "moulids
" and other cultural events.
Up-and-coming documentary photographer Ahmed Gaber has spent the last few months traveling Egypt to document the nation's Sufi moulids
. We bring you highlights of his journey as he follows believers in search of redemption, happiness and the ultimate truth.
"It is lamentable that holding the Abu Hassira festival is more important to the Government than holding Sayyeda Zeinab, or el-Hussein annual Moulids
, which were cancelled last year on the pretext that it was afraid of the spreading of swine flu among the celebrants," he added.