By Mohamed Abel Monsef and Ahmed Salama
Three million people visited Tanta, capital of the Gharbia governorate, to participate in celebrations of the Moulid Al-Sayed Al-Badawy, a carnival that celebrates the birthday of a member of the Prophet Mohamed’s family. The celebrations were held from 10-17 October.
The annual celebration has served to connect northern and southern Egypt. Many Upper Egypt residents only visit Lower Egypt during Al-Badawy celebrations. Visitors buy hummus, meshabbek and halawa, which are popular types of snacks and dessert sold during the celebrations.
Such celebrations are rarely held anywhere else in the world, said Sheikh Ragab Sayed Ahmed, General Director of Religious Endowments in Gharbia. The mosque can hold up to 20,000 people, as it occupies a space of 5,000 square metres. It has Imams from all over the world, especially from the North Africa, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, he said. About 70 Sufi groups participated in the celebrations with their own folkloric shows and sessions.
Al-Sayed Al -adwawy was born in Morocco. He studied Quran sciences in Medina and jurisprudence in Iraq, settling in Egypt in 640 AH. There he joined the Egyptian army in the war against Louis III, playing a significant role in his capture. He also fought with prince Qutuz in the battle of Ain Jalut, which ended with the defeat of Tatars and led to the dismantlement of their state. He was known as “The Masked Rider,” according to Hassan Hawash, sheikh of Al-Sayed Al-Badawy mosque.
Photos by Omar Korashi