Moulid of Abu El Haggag June 2014

Dear Reader, I'm sure that you already know a bit about Luxor's famous Moulid, but just  in case........

Each year, 15 days before the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan, the said Moulid reaches its climax. It commemorates the mid 12th century birthday of Luxor's most revered 'Holy Man' the Sufi Sheikh Abu El Haggag, whose Mosque is the one built on the top of Luxor Temple. (Although he was actually born in Syria.) I lifted the following titbit direct from Wikipedia. As you well know; I'm not cynical, or anything like that, but doesn't the following scenario sound familiar, or at least typical? 

"When Shaikh Abu El Haggag came to Luxor, Islam at the time was not the major religion in Egypt; Coptic Christianity was the leading religion at the time[citation needed]. The city was a colony owned by a religious Coptic lady[citation needed]. She used to be called The Princess[citation needed]. Her soldiers saw Sheikh Abu El Haggag there and was immediately recognized as a foreigner, therefore he was taken to the Princess for questioning as they feared that he is a spy from a different tribe/region. He complained to her about the treatment he received and expressed that he wishes to become a local citizen[citation needed]. The lady was generous and offered him to stay as long as he wishes[citation needed]. He asked her to give him a land as big as a camel’s skin to sleep on it, she thought that would be maximum of 2 square meters, so she agreed as she was a generous Lady, he asked her to sign a contract confirming the deal which she agreed to[citation needed].
At night, he took a camel’s skin and he cut it into a very thin line at the front of some local witnesses, something similar to a very thin washing line, he used it to border a big part of Luxor Temple[citation needed]. In the morning, soldiers saw this line and reported it to the Princess, and then she realised that he owns this bordered part of the temple as per their written agreement[citation needed]. As much as she was feeling deceived by his plan, they met few times afterwards, she was impressed by his knowledge and then she converted to Islam[citation needed]."
Like so much in Egypt today, this particular Moulid is actually a remnant of Pharaonic ritual and celebration! Islam, as with other religions around the world, has commandeered something of the form and content of preceding religious festivals. In this case, they have usurped the 'Beautiful Festival of Opet", along with its Holy Barques (now dressed-up feluccas) being pulled along with ropes by strong men, and sacrificial foodstuffs now represented by floats from the various trades of Luxor. But, most importantly, in the forefront of the procession come the learned 'Holy Men' of today in their dazzling white robes, chanting verses from the Muslim Holy Book, the Quran. Then, the camels which represent the Mosques. As in all these similar circumstances worldwide, the 'religion of the day' must be pre-eminent! 

Well, I'm afraid that general circumstances conspired against me, on Thursday, to prevent me from catching the earliest parts of the Moulid parade! Nevertheless, I didn't miss very much and caught the Mosque camels, which you'll remember, Dear Reader, are pretty well near the front of the procession.

I'm almost certain that there used to be only six Mosques represented by camels, but I see that there are now eleven. (Mind you, if ALL the Luxor Mosques had a camel in the parade, it would go on till Kingdom come!!!!)

Next came the caleche men, and the carters (with various forms of 'carting' ranging from the humble donkey-cart through three-wheeler motor bike trucks to diesel powered pick-up trucks and up to full sized wagons) there was even an Amoun man with his two-dust-bin hand barrow!

There was a diminution of the number of trades represented at this years Moulid, but the fruit sellers were still in evidence, and the other participants and onlookers were very grateful for their generosity!

These next pics shows the Luxor Health and Safety Executive float as they demonstrate what not to do with butane gas cylinders, they even had a boy on the road demonstrating what not to do with fly-spray canisters; yes they have them actually alight!!!

I watched and filmed the carra-navAl, (the emphasis being on the capital letter) with our friend and regular guest, the Quadbike Queen, from Yorkshire. I had reserved a place for us in the upstairs room of the coffeeshop belonging to one of our neighbours, Mr Fowie (the beast actually took money from me!!!!) as it has a great view over our square (known as "El Hod", after the water trough which used to be there) which the procession was bound to pass through. We were there for the best part of two hours and the camera battery gave out just before the end. (I should have re-charged it after filming the Stick Fighting the evening before, dummy!)

As usual, the event had its share of characters, I don't know the man in the monkey suit, but the headcase on the cab of the wagon is Mr Nasr who works in the suq selling statues and the like, he lives a couple of streets away with his many brothers.

Dispersed throughout the whole of the procession, perhaps the most numerous and vocal of all those employment groups were plainly visible to be seen. Maybe it's only fitting that, as I swear that I heard the name of Sisi...Sisi being chanted, the most boisterous, energetic and enthusiastic group of the day hove into view:

That's them, the unemployed youth! Let's all hope and pray that their Champion, President Abdul Fattah El Sisi, can find some way of harnessing all that exuberance, before it's too late?

God bless them!

This posting was supposed to be all  videos, but I was unable to get some to load. So I apologise for the photographs, which clearly don't do the action scenes justice. Onward and upward!

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