Culture – Daily News Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Thu, 23 May 2019 10:30:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 “By the people, for the people” El Nas Hospital hopes to ease children’s pains https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/23/by-the-people-for-the-people-el-nas-hospital-hopes-to-ease-childrens-pains/ Thu, 23 May 2019 10:30:28 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698876 New hospital to start operation in Q4 of 2019, with capacity of 557 beds, says Hassouna

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Ramadan is known for producing many advertisement campaigns for many brands.

Being a spiritual month, many NGOs, hospitals, and charity organisations that rely on donations exploit Ramadan to attract more people to donate through advertising.

During the last years, NGOs and hospitals used heart touching commercials to move the people emotionally and get you sympathy with the poor or patients. But since last year after many people criticised this way of campaigning, most of the NGOs turned to make ads in an exhilarating manner but also deliver the message. They started to rely on actors, singers, or media figures in advertisement believing that those people can change impact the people positively.

Among the exhilarating ads this year was the El Nas hospital (Hospital of the people) that called for the people to donate for the hospital so they can continue equipping the hospital which has been already established.

You will be amazed when you know that the managing director of this hospital is a woman, Anisa Hassouna. Daily News Egypt interviewed Hassouna to know more about this hospital that is considered as the largest free pediatrics hospital in the Middle East and Africa.

Hassouna stated that the Al-Joud Foundation is planning to open the first stage of El Nas Hospital in the fourth quarter (Q4) of this year, noting that the first stage of the hospital will be specialised in treating children with congenital heart defects.

She added that Al-Joud Foundation signed an agreement last year with Khamis Asfour Foundation for the management and operation of the hospital.

Hasouna added that the foundation has completed the construction of the hospital since 2015, and the necessary medical equipment is expected to arrive in July.

She explained that the total capacity of the hospital is 557 beds. while the capacity of the first stage of treating children with congenital heart defects is up to 110 beds.

“The first phase includes 16 outpatient clinics, two operation rooms, and a radiology centre.  The hospital is seeking to recruit 50 doctors and 200 nurses to work in the hospital,” Hassouna disclosed.

She mentioned that they chose the name EL Nas to reflect the idea of the hospital that it is for the people and founded by the people.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Fathi, director of the hospital, told DNE that the total cost of medical equipment in the hospital is over EGP 55om, including EGP 250m in the first phase.

Fathi explained that the hospital was built on 30 sqkm and includes 45 outpatient clinics and a blood bank.

He pointed out that there are about 27,000 children who are born every year with a heart defect in Egypt, with only 13,000 cases treated while the rest are on waiting lists, noting that EL Nas hospital seeks to reduce the number of waiting lists and to treat all cases for free.

Fathi pointed out that the hospital plans to conduct 1,500 operations every day.

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Omani author Jokha Alharthi wins prestigious Booker International Prize https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/22/omani-author-jokha-alharthi-wins-prestigious-booker-international-prize/ Wed, 22 May 2019 20:32:07 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698913 Her novel ‘Celestial Bodies’ allowed her to become first Arabic-language writer to win the Man Booker International Prize

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Female Omani author Jokha Alharthi won the 2019 Man Booker International Prize for her novel “Celestial Bodies,” the award jury announced on Tuesday. The work tells the coming-of-age story of three sisters in an Omani village and was originally published in Arabic.

Jury head Bettany Hughes described the novel as “a book to win over the head and the heart in equal measure” at a ceremony in London.

Hughes added that the author’s style is marked by “subtly resisting cliches of race, slavery and gender.”

The prestigious Man Booker International Prize focuses on writers outside English-language areas. It serves as a counterpart to the Man Booker Prize for English-language novels. The 50,000 pounds financial award is to be split between Alharthi and her translator Marilyn Booth.

Alharthi is the first female writer from Oman to have her work translated into English. Her latest success also makes her the first Arabic author to claim the Man Booker International Prize.

“Celestial Bodies” also delves into the subject of slavery in Oman, which was only outlawed in 1970.

“It’s a sensitive subject and kind of a taboo,” Alharthi said in an onstage interview, adding that, “But I think literature is the best platform to discuss sensitive issues. And slavery is not exclusive to Oman – it’s part of human history.”

“I am thrilled that a window has been opened to the rich Arabic culture,” she later told reporters.

The 40-year-old professor had studied Arabic poetry and Classical Arabic Literature in Edinburgh before returning to Oman to teach at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat. Her works include three other novels, two children books, and several collections of short stories.

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Strange Ramadan traditions from around the world https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/22/strange-ramadan-traditions-from-around-the-world/ Wed, 22 May 2019 11:00:35 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698721 Daily News Egypt looks into the strangest traditions during the holy month from around the world.

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With Islam being such a widespread and ancient religion, it has blended itself with many of the local aspects from region to region. This has given birth to several traditions celebrating Ramadan along with the unique flavours of each country. Daily News Egypt looks into the strangest traditions during the holy month from around the world.

Chechnya

On the morning of the first day of Ramadan, the Chechens visit graves of their relatives and Sufi gatherings are held. Children whose birth coincides with the holy month are named “Ramadan” for boys and “Marha” for girls.

Tajikistan

During the holy month, children roam neighbourhoods in groups carrying bags to collect gifts while they sing cheerful songs. Muslims break their fasting with tea and milk drink, known as “Shershay”.

Maldives: The people of Maldives go to beaches in the last night of Shaaban to sight the crescent moon with naked eye. The Iftar meal usually includes seafood and fish during Ramadan.

Turkey

Once the Ramadan crescent is sighted, homes are sprayed with air fresheners of musk and rose water.   

Indonesia

Schools and universities are given leave for a week until they are used to fasting.

The traditional drums, called “Al-Budok”, are danced to in order to celebrate the coming of the month.

Pakistan

The people of Pakistan hold large celebration where all children who fast for the first time gather to encourage them and they wear gold-coated head covers to be distinguished.

Young people in Pakistan, particularly Peshawar, are turning to an old-fashioned game to keep them occupied during the late Ramadan nights – egg fighting. The game involves using a brightly coloured boiled egg to crack your opponents’ egg, and has been played for generations in Pakistan.

Mauritania

One of the popular traditions of the people of Mauritania during Ramadan is to read the entire Qur’an in one night.

Men also shave their heads before the month of Ramadan to grow new hair during the holy month, which they call “Ramadan hair”. Many young people tend to marry during the month of Ramadan so their marriages would be blessed.

Nigeria

Rich families daily host the poor over Iftar.

Uganda

People in Uganda fast for 12 hours as the equator passes through the country.

The relatives and neighbours gather everyday at one of the houses for a group Iftar. Bananas are essential in the Iftar meal.

Thailand

Muslim families in Thailand sacrifice cattle or birds. The neighbours exchange Iftar meals, and women gather in a large yard in front of their houses to eat together.

Yemen

In Yemen, the people paint their houses and buy new utensils during Ramadan. They give more attention for decorating tables for Iftar in the streets and hold celebrations.

Sri Lanka

Once the moon crescent of Ramadan is sighted, people decorate their houses. The restaurants and coffee shops are closed until Iftar, while others open temporary shops serving food and drinks next to mosques during Ramadan. They are called “Dekak”.

Bangladesh

One of the most important traditions in Bangladesh during Ramadan is buying religious books as a huge book fair is held at the beginning of the month and continues until the end of Ramadan.

Russia

The fasting period in Russia sometimes reach 22 hours, making it the longest fasting period in the world. Nevertheless, people are keen to fast and pray in mosques. In Moscow, the Ramadan tent is considered an important event and an authentic Ramadan habit. It can accommodate more than 600 people. For Iftar, kafas, a traditional drink, is preferred in Ramadan. In Tatarstan, the Muslim who is unable to fast can donate RUB 100 for every day they don’t fast.

Kazakhstan

Muslims receive Ramadan with joy. Expats return to the country to spend the month with their families. They also sacrifice cattle. People are keen to pray in mosques.

One of the most important customs there is the huge Iftar party held at the Hazrat Sultan Mosque which can accommodate up to 10,000 worshipers. The Iftar is attended by the head of state.

The people there break their fast by drinking camel or horse milk. The most famous dish is Ramadan is the mutton with rice and nuts.

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Al-Karma to publish Tawfik’s last short story collection in June https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/22/al-karma-to-publish-tawfiks-last-short-story-collection-in-june/ Wed, 22 May 2019 07:30:34 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698754 The publishing house agreed with Tawfik’s family to publish the last 11 stories he wrote, on his birthday on 11 June.

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The long fulfilling literary life of the Egyptian novelist Ahmed Khaled Tawfik is yet to find an end, despite his death. Al-Karma Publishing House announced on Tuesday issuing Tawfik’s last short story collection, Rofakaa’ El-Leil (The Night’s Comrades), that Tawfik wrote just before his death last year.

The publishing house agreed with Tawfik’s family to publish the last 11 stories he wrote, on his birthday on 11 June. The stories will see the light to end a long chapter of Tawfik’s enriching writings over the past 20 years.

Dubbed “Youth’s Father”, Tawfik was one of the main writing pillars of 1990s and 2000s. With over 500 fantasy stories, he crafted a world which has soon become familiar among almost all these generations’ bookworms.

Tawfik closed his eyes for the last time in April 2018 at the age of 55, leaving behind millions of mourning children that still post their pictures of continuously visiting his grave which has carved on it, “the man who made youth read.”

He was dubbed the godfather as his very first writings “Ma Wara’ El-Tabia’a” (The Paranormal), a set of small pocket-size horror and thriller stories, began being published in the early 1990s. The stories magically drew a world of rationally impossible events which happen to the senior, ironic doctor, Ref’at Ismail.

In 2008, Tawfik wrote his most successful novel, which shook the Egyptian reading community, Utopia. Based on poverty statistics at the time, Tawfik forecasted how Egypt would be in 2023.

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Fashionably featuring beguiling beauty of Maasai people https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/fashionably-featuring-beguiling-beauty-of-maasai-people/ Tue, 21 May 2019 14:30:48 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698665 Exhibition presents traditions of tribe through fashion eyes of photographer Zaher

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In what was planned to be a normal family tourist visit to Kenya, young photographer Amina Zaher could not help but twist it due to her passion, and view the life of Maasai tribe as one giant fashion show. The appealing, vibrant in colour outfits, were the famous designs which have been worn for thousands of years, yet are still trendy, and every passing person in Zaher’s eyes was a model awaiting to be internationally spotlighted, with the timeworn alleys of the ancient village being the runway through which swaying models took grabbed her heart. The photographs of Zaher’s 10-day visit brought her to her very first art exhibition, “Kenya Aesthetics.”

At Maadi’s Arcade Art Gallery, Zaher captured peoples’ hearts with her photographs in which she featured the large number of the Maasai people. Specialised in fashion photography, Zaher presented the life of the village in a creative way, through a number of art-directed photographs featuring the people in an authentic form without it being a “staged fashion photography or a candid documentary photography.” It was a passion-driven output, which reflected the “mutual visual, aesthetic, and intimate conversation that I was having with them,” as she described it.

“The moment I laid eyes on the people of the Maasai, I could not believe they were real. Their captivating skin tone, and the layered vibrant clothes, along with the way they mixed these things together–it was like they were out of this world,” Zaher told Daily News Egypt.

Through her project, Zaher aimed to let people explore the Maasai culture through her eyes, as a fashion stylist and art mixer. The 27 captured images brought the tradition of the Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting northern, central, and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, with their culture which has not changed despite being well-educated and capable of change.

“At first, I saw a number of them walking separately in Kenya, that is when I was moved and made the decision to photograph them. I asked the driver to take me into the village which was the heavenly gate to tremendous hidden treasures,” Zaher explained.

Like thousands of foreign photographers, Zaher was touched by the way the tribe is dressed in Shuka, which is a piece of fabric that can be worn in different styles, their huts which are mainly built of cow dung, marriage rituals that require women to shave their heads, and their lifestyle in which they drink blood. However, Zaher did not only capture random moments, she created that a mini setup to portray the images instead of just spontaneously snap them.

She captured the life of these people in thousands of photographs that were taken in a fashion composition, with fixed backgrounds from the same fabric people wore. She explained the reasons behind taking a photo with a background that is covered with the same fabric the model was wearing as it would grab the attention to peoples’ faces “which is most expressive.”   

“I was shocked with the fact that they willingly stick to the inherited tools, not because they are financially forced to, but beautifully because they are willing to; they still live in homes mainly made of cow dung, and wear the outfits their ancestors have been wearing for ages,” she added.

In her photographs, Zaher focused on human features and figures, something which she explained to be normal as the faces of the Maasai people are what attracted her the most, and also because it is a part of her professional photography experience.

“Each one of the people I came across had his/her own character, which is way more important that the way they looked like. Having a unique personality popping out of a photo is the whole target of photography,” Zaher asserted.

The exhibition runs until 30 May.

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Traditions, folk customs of Ramadan in Bosnia, Herzegovina https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/traditions-folk-customs-of-ramadan-in-bosnia-herzegovina/ Tue, 21 May 2019 13:30:31 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698657 Geographically, Bosnia represents the central, eastern, western and Herzegovina regions of the Neretva river basin region.

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The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a Balkan country in south-eastern Europe. It is nearly a country that is closed off without any coasts except for a coast extending on 26 km on the Adriatic Sea. The difference between the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a geographical difference. The majority of them are Muslims.

Geographically, Bosnia represents the central, eastern, western and Herzegovina regions of the Neretva river basin region.

Bosnia and Herzegovina are considered a Muslim country and Muslims are called “Bosniaks”. The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina maintain their Muslim identity, which has not changed over time since the opening of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Ottoman armies. The name of the capital Sarajevo is of a Turkish origin, and Muslims represent 80% of its population.

Welcoming Ramadan

Preparing for Ramadan starts a while before the month begins, as Muslims go about cleaning the mosques which volunteers and young people fill and decorate.

When the start of Ramadan is confirmed by the state, different forms of celebrations start in Bosnia, and you can see lanterns and lights everywhere.

Ramadan is considered a chance in Bosnia to spread the sense of takaful (sponsorship) and paying the debts of the indebted as well as collecting donations for the needy.

In Bosnia, Ma’edet Al Rahman (Mercy Table) brings together people of all religions and families, relatives and neighbours are all invited.

The historic yellow citadel is one of the most beautiful places chosen by the people of Bosnia for iftar (breaking the fast) given the beautiful view. From there, the Azan (call to prayer) and cannon (to signal the beginning of eating) can be heard throughout the entire city, announcing that it is time for iftar.

Firing the cannon is a tradition that developed in the 20th century and stopped during the period that followed WWII as firing cannons was banned. The tradition then came back to life in 1997, two years after the Bosnia and Herzegovina war.

Ramadan in Sarajevo is distinguished with a kind of pastry called “Somon”. Its distinctive smell and taste spread are noticeable in Ramadan, so the people of Sarajevo believe that the smell of Somon is the real smell of Ramadan, and that is why you can easily see long queues in front of bakeries during Ramadan.

Bosnian people prepare popular dishes that are specially made in Ramadan. One of their famous dishes is “Tupa”, which is a mix of eggs, milk, and cheese. It is served as a side dish. Also, specific kinds of bread are baked in Ramadan as a way of honouring for the month. Some of the most famous foods on iftar tables in Bosnia include pita bread, cabbage, stuffed turkey, salads, kabab, pies stuffed with meat or potatoes, cheese, and spinach.

In Ramadan in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the markets get crowded as the period between noon and afternoon witnesses great demand by fasting individuals who purchase their vegetable, meat, and legume needs to prepare iftar before Azan Al Maghrib (sunset call to prayer). Politicians and public figures in Ramadan in Bosnia pray Taraweeh (special Ramadan prayers) around the country without tight security.

After iftar and Taraweeh prayers, coffee shops open their doors before the people of the city and tourists from various countries.

One of the main things that distinguishes Bosnians is their strong connection to coffee. To them it is more than a drink that they have known since the time of the Ottomans. Coffee is a national drink and all families have manual copper devices to crush and brew coffee.

One of the main daily habits of Bosnians in Ramadan includes reading the Qur’an during the period from noon to afternoon. This allows Bosnians who do not know Arabic to listen to Qur’an in Arabic. In the capital, Sarajevo, a Ramadan Festival is organised to offer many cultural, social, and religious activities such as a group iftar, shows, and classes in mosques. The festival starts on the first day of Ramadan at the yellow citadel. The activities continue in various historic buildings in the city.

The people of Bosnia get excited about the Eid (feast) following Ramadan and congratulate one another. Their main traditions before the Eid are decorating homes, spraying nice-smelling air fresheners, and wearing new clothes. Usually, the first day of the Eid is devoted for family and cemetery visits. Bosnians also have the habit of giving young children money during the Eid.

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“Kushaf”: most famous Ramadan drinks https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/kushaf-most-famous-ramadan-drinks/ Tue, 21 May 2019 11:30:17 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698641 In Egypt you would see Egyptian families' great demand for Yamish, and each Egyptian kitchen would have Kushaf where a mix of Yamish is prepared.

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One of the most authentic Egyptian traditions is buying Ramadan “Yamish” to make “Kushaf” and other kinds of Ramadan sweets. 

Many history scholars believe that eating Yamish dates back to ancient Egyptians who made sweets and decorated them for children to eat.

Yamish is an Egyptian word used in the Fatimid era. It means dried fruits and nuts. Dried apricots, figs, coconut, hazelnuts, peanuts, and cashews are among the main types of Yamish.

The caliphs in the Fatimid era would distribute Yamish to the poor all Ramadan.

In Egypt you would see Egyptian families’ great demand for Yamish, and each Egyptian kitchen would have Kushaf where a mix of Yamish is prepared.

Egyptians usually began the habit of buying Ramadan Yamish during the reign of the Fatimid state in the period 365 AH – 567 AH, which ruled Egypt for some two centuries.

One of the most famous selling markets of Yamish in Egypt is the Qusun area founded by Prince Saif al-Din Qusun at Bab Al-Nasr street during the 18th century AH. The market was the destination of most merchants coming from Syria and with their goods of oil, soap, pistachios, hazelnuts, and walnuts to be sold before Ramadan.

The market of Yamish moved in the 9th century AH to the area of ​​Gamaliyah and then to Boulaq Abul Ela, then to Rawd al-Farag and then to Souq El Sokareya, which sells varieties of Yamish and Ramadan drinks as a main commodity provided as a kind of entertainment and also to guests and it is likewise given to children who carry lanterns and roam around houses singing famous Ramadan songs.

Kushaf means a drink made from dried fruits, dates, and raisins drenched in water. It is a word of Persian origin.

Qamar Al Din

Ramadan drinks vary, but the most famous of them all is Qamar Al Din. It is famous in the entire Arab world and is made of squeezed and dried apricot kept in plastic packages. It then drenched and has sugar added to it before it is ready for drinking.

It is said that the origin of Qamar Al Din dates back to 1400 AH in Syria which was famous for making it. It is believed that Al Waleed bin Abdel Malik, the Umayyed caliph, used to order the drink to be distributed to the people in celebration of Ramadan.

Liquorice juice

Ancient Egyptians used the drink Liquorice juice as a treatment for stomach diseases, which is why they called it the Royal Drink. Doctors would mix it with bitter medications to hide its taste, but it has then become the drink of the public in the Fatimid era.

The character of the Liquorice juice seller is folkloric with special distinctive clothes and statements he repeats.

Liquorice juice comes from a plant found in Syria, Europe, and Egypt but is mainly famous in Egypt as a Ramadan drink.

Jallab

It is one of the drinks Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine are famous for. It is a mix of dates, grapes, water, rose water, pine, and raisins.

Carob

It is famous in the Mediterranean region as it is cultivated in Libya, Palestine, levant, Morocco, and Cyprus. It moved from there to Ramadan tables through Arab merchants. It treats illnesses of the respiratory system. It was mentioned in the Bible under the name “Bread of St Hanna”. Carob is drenched in water for several hours then filtered and has sugar added to it.

Tamarind

It is a drink coming from India. The pulp of the Tamarind is soaked in water and mixed with hibiscus and you can have it during iftar because it counters thirst.

Sobia

An Egyptian drink made from coconut, milk, and sugar or honey. Some say it dates back to the era of Mamluks.

Vemto

Vemto first appeared in Manchester city in Britain as a healthy alternative for beer. It was marketed as a drink that gives energy and vitality. It is one of the most famous drinks in Gulf countries as about 35m bottles of Vemto are sold every year, and half the quantity is sold in Ramadan.

Doum

Recently added to the list of Ramadan drinks, doum is a tree found in Africa and Upper Egypt, and has many medical benefits. It is known that Doum is one of the juices which treats stress, cools the body, and improves digestion.

To get doum, soak it for a long time in water or boil it and add sugar and filter it.

Abri

It is one of the main drinks on a Sudanese table, as it gets prepared even before the start of Ramadan. It is made of white corn sprayed with water until it blossoms then left under the sun. Corn is then minced and mixed with sweet spices like cinnamon and ginger. It is mixed and left for fermentation and subsequently shaped into circular slices heated on stoves and put away until Ramadan. It helps those who are fasting resist thirst.

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Ma’edat Al Rahman: Long history of spreading joy, from Medina to Cairo https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/20/maedat-al-rahman-long-history-of-spreading-joy-from-medina-to-cairo/ Mon, 20 May 2019 12:45:57 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698558 The first Ma’edet Al Rahman in Egypt was in the era of Ahmed bin Toloun in 880 in the fourth year of his rule

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When the coming of the holy month of Ramadan, the streets of Cairo are filled with “Ma’edat Al Rahman” (tables of mercy) which is a vital ritual in Ramadan illustrating social solidarity – something which characterises the holy month.  On these tables are displayed all kinds of foods according to the neighbourhood they are in, providing Iftar (break of fast) for the needy and passers-by.

The name of these tables is inspired from Surat (chapter) Al Ma’eda in the Qur’an. It calls for the spreading of mercy amongst Muslims, as this was the main reason for these tables during the era of Prophet Muhammed. It started with a group from Al Ta’ef who arrived when the Prophet was in Medina and they announced their conversion to Islam, so the Prophet then sent them their iftars and suhoor (meal before fasting) meals, and the caliphs followed Prophet Mohamed’s tradition. Omar Ibn El Khattab established “Dar Al Deyafa” (the hosting home) to provide iftar for those who were fasting.

The first Ma’edet Al Rahman in Egypt was in the era of Ahmed bin Toloun in 880 in the fourth year of his rule. He had prepared a feast to which he invited merchants and dignitaries on the first day of Ramadan, then he ordered them to open their homes to feed the poor. He also ordered that this decision be applied everywhere. This feast was when the idea of Ma’edet Al Rahman started in Egypt.

Over time, the tradition disappeared then came back again during the era of Al Mo’ez leldein Allah Al Fatimi, as he prepared a Ma’eda (table) for the people who pray in Amr Ibn Al Aas Mosque. The food was cooked in his palace then distributed to the poor. Some of the tables were of a length of 175m. In the Fatimid era, the palace workers would provide a major store of sugar and flour as well as sweets such as kenafah, qatayef, and baklava and they would distributed them to the people of Egypt.

It is said that the tradition of Ma’edet Al Rahman dates back to the Abbasid period during the rule of Haroun Al Rashied as he would set tables in his palace and he would roam around them in disguise to ask the people breaking their fast about the quality of the food so that they would tell him their opinions honestly without compliments.

The Mamluk ear in Egypt was famous for the generosity of the rulers in spending on the poor and the needy as extra wages were given to workers, students, and orphans.

Ma’edet Al Rahman remained a tradition related to Ramadan throughout Islamic eras and the rich would race to prepare tables every year.

In the 20th century, the tradition returned again under the government sponsorship of the Nasser Social Bank which would prepare a table near Al-Azhar Mosque to feed 4,000 persons. The first Coptic table of that kind was set in the Shoubra neighbourhood in 1969 in Al-Afadal Square. Since then, these tables were seen and remain present in the streets of Egypt.

Over the past five years, the presence of these tables has become more prevalent and a place for the poor to find various kinds of foods. Some of the most famous Ma’edet Al Rahmans in Egypt are located in Al-Azahar, Al-Hussein, Al-Sayed Zeinab, and Ramses Square.

These tables can also be found near restaurants which serve ifrar.

Many mosques in Egypt prepare these tables through collecting money from people who pray.

In the villages of Upper Egypt, young people go out on highways and sit on the side of the street close to iftar the time and invite car drivers to join them.

Ma’edet Al Rahman in Qatar

That tradition also remains famous in many other Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Emirates, and Qatar. Charity organisations are keen on setting tables, providing dates, and ready meals so that people can both pray the Maghrib (sunset) prayer and have their Iftar.

In Qatar, those who set these tables take into consideration that there are guests on the table who come from different countries, such as India and Bangladesh, so the food is prepared to suit the taste of these other cultures.

Ma’edet Al Rahman in Nigeria

In Nigeria, there exists is the largest number of Muslims, even compared to Africa, as Muslims represent 65% of the total population. The main dish in Nigeria would be the “Cono,” which is made of corn, fat, sugar, and cocoa soup (crushed rice with sugar and milk).

A few days before the start of Ramadan, some major companies and institutions prepare initiatives of Ma’edet Al Rahman across the country in Ramadan. In the morning, volunteers and workers work together to prepare the meals, and before iftar people start coming in to eat.

Ma’edet Al Rahman in Syria

In Ramadan, Syrians have many rituals and traditions despite the ongoing war. The tables are prepared in Syrian cities and have become a point where residents of a neighbourhood of all levels gather around one table.

Some Syrian cities are famous for this tradition and continue to retain it as Syrian women prepare the best dishes for Iftar.

Ma’edet Al Rahman in Turkey

The tradition also continues in Istanbul to celebrate Ramadan. Usually, gun shots are fired before Maghrib and Ma’edet Al Rahman is prepared for the poor and the needy in public squares, in cooperation with charity organisations.

The Turkish are divided into two groups during Iftar. The first prefers to eat dates then only a small amount of food. They then pray and continue their iftar after Maghrib prayers, while others prefer to have ifrar first.

The tables of Iftar would have dates, olives, cheese, and Turkish soup, as well as Dawood pasha kofta, and Beida bread.

Ma’edet Al Rahman in Somalia

In Somalia, Ramadan is distinguished by many iftar tables near mosques or inside mosques so people can eat then pray.

Ma’edet Al Rahman in the Philippines

The idea of having iftar tables has spread in the Philippines as some of the pilgrims saw them in Mecca and they took the tradition to their country.

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Reviving cinema’s faded glory through 55 street film theatres across 50 Egyptian cities https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/19/reviving-cinemas-faded-glory-through-55-street-film-theatres-across-50-egyptian-cities/ Sun, 19 May 2019 13:00:01 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698423 Cima Masr initiative to expand to over the 27 governorates, reaching over 35 million citizens, compensating Egypt’s 250 shut cinemas at last 10 years

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When the first cinema show was ever brought to Egypt in 1896, and the industry started flourishing soon after, attracting people from all around the world to see the motion clips displayed on the giant screens with people moving, dancing, and talking, no one imagined that decades after that historical moment, cinema conditions would deteriorate, like many other services, to the extent of leading one of the world’s cinema industry pioneers into limited cinema theatres to only the two biggest cities of the country. A status quo that is fought by Cima Masr’s latest initiative.

Cima Masr is the county’s latest campaign aiming to revive the glory of Egyptian cinema, through establishing 55 street film theatres across the 27 of Egypt’s governorates.

The initiative is launched by the Egyptian Foundation for Strategic Studies and Research (EFSSR) which is an independent, non-profit regional organisation that works towards the development of a modern understanding of corporate, social, and educational awareness.

The three-year plan aims to create affordable entertainment means to all family members through the establishment of 55 cinema theatres across 33 feddan in order to open a window for over 35 million citizens to watch movies with tickets for 10 EGP. It also aims to recreate Egypt’s missing content of family drama that does not include vulgarity, nudity, or any inappropriate content.

The campaign is to expand to over 50 cities, creating an avenue for people to witness the documentation of the nations’ history and the future, through relying on present facts.

Starting from this year, the initiative is to establish 20 theatres in the first phase of the governorates, and followed by another two within the upcoming year.

Theatres are designed to seat 345 persons per show, including 24 spots for physically challenged members.

“One of the things that led us into believing the severe need for this project was our study which showed that 85% of Egypt’s total cinema theatres are located in Cairo, while the other 10% are in Alexandria, leaving only 5% of the theatres are spread across the rest of the governorates, out of which 250 theatres were shut down in the last 10 years,” Chairperson of the board of trustees at EFSSR, Hany Ghoneim, told Daily News Egypt.

The EFSSR is focused on conducting research which seeks to benefit local communities throughout Egypt.

In his speech, at the initiative’s event launch, Ghoneim asserted that Egypt has been a leading film industry. “Although the situation has recently changed, we hope to restore the industry to its former glory,” he declared.

The other pillar of the campaign is to produce films and open a gate for the talents to showcase their unseen abilities in film making. Cima Masr plans to screen eight to10 locally produced films funded through the campaign.

The self-funded campaign opens doors for wider circulation and marketing to producers across the governorates with a guarantee of success despite the reduced ticket price, which is much less than commercial tickets that usually range from EGP 25-150.

“The reason behind expensive tickets in private theatres, is because they want to cover the production expenses at theatres the films are to be screened at. But when we expand the screening platforms, offering alternatives than the few available numbers, there is no need to sell the film for such ticket prices,” Ghoneim told DNE.

Nonetheless, the reduced prices will never affect the production quality, which the EFSSR will exert the highest efforts into making them match international standards.

“The screened films will match the market’s finest productions when it comes to storylines, production, and directing. However, the only element our committees will focus on, is to have the production match the criteria of a family show,” Ghoneim added.

The campaign aims to invest experts’ experience into shaping young talents toward professionalism.

“We are keen to foster an environment where local artists are able to articulate their skills; whether it’s script writing, acting, casting, or directing, we make sure they have the appropriate guidance as well as the means to facilitate their endeavour,” said Cima Masr’s Business Development Manager, Hady El Baghoury, in the press release.

“This does not only helps shape the next generation of stars, but also supports our vision of recapturing the magic of Egyptian cinema,” he added.

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The Netherlands wins the Eurovision Song Contest https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/19/the-netherlands-wins-the-eurovision-song-contest/ Sat, 18 May 2019 23:05:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698408 The post The Netherlands wins the Eurovision Song Contest appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Bookies favorite Duncan Lawrence has won the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv with his power ballad “Arcade.” An exclusive performance by a 60-year-old pop diva also ensured the night would never be forgotten.Twenty-five-year-old Dutchman Duncan Laurence won the 2019 European Song Contest in Tel Aviv on Saturday night with his catchy ballad "Arcade."

Laurence won 492 points to beat Italy's Mahmood and 24 other contestants to take Eurovision glory.

Russia, Switzerland and Norway made up the rest of the top five respectively after the votes from judges in 41 countries and viewers were tallied.

"This is to dreaming big, this is to music first always," Laurence said as he received the iconic microphone trophy.

Read more: Opinion: Should the Eurovision Song Contest be politicized?

Dutch entry singled out

In the weeks leading up to the competition, the Dutchman had hardly budged as the far and away favorite among bookmakers and experts.

The ballad he sang of love and loss was co-written with his compatriot Wouter Hardy and Joel Sjoo from Sweden. It's a song that moves many to tears, delivered in a bare-bones production:

The Netherlands has won the contest four times before, with the most recent win in 1975.

Madonna fans disappointed

Ahead of the contest, there had been much hype about an exclusive performance by Madonna, which Canadian-Israeli billionaire Sylvan Adams paid for to the tune of $1 million (€895,000). However, the 60-year-old Queen of Pop received less than stellar reviews on social media after her new take on her 1989 hit "Like a Prayer" was sung out of tune in parts.

Further controversy erupted when Madonna's dancers briefly wore Israeli and Palestinian flags on their backs during her performance in an apparent call for unity.

Iceland's entry, Hatari, displayed scarfs with Palestinian flags as the results were being announced, forcing Israeli TV to cut away quickly.

Diverse styles and opinions

"The most important thing is that you stick to who you are," said Duncan Laurence at the subsequent press conference. An openly bisexual artist, he is seen as a role model in the LGBTQ community in Europe.

The Netherlands, with 492 points, was followed by Italy (465), Russia (369), Switzerland (360), Norway (338), Sweden (332), Azerbaijan (297), North Macedonia (295) and Australia (285).

It was an evening of widely diverse styles and opinions. As the jury votes came in country by country, the top favorites traded places again and again: Russia, Italy, Sweden, The Netherlands and surprisingly, North Macedonia, which hadn't been predicted as a favorite but had long held a commanding lead.

After all 41 countries had announced their votes from music expert juries, the points were announced from the televoting, dramatically altering the results.

Germany, which placed 21st out of 26 in the jury vote, was the only country to be awarded zero points from the public voting.

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Ramadan in the Maghreb https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/15/ramadan-in-the-maghreb/ Wed, 15 May 2019 10:00:55 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698168 The atmosphere of Ramadan and the celebration of the coming of the holy month are similar in most Muslim countries, but there are details for each nation in their customs and traditions.

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In Morocco they call the month of Ramadan “Sidna Ramadan” because it is the best month of the year, and they receive it with decorations in all houses and shops, and close cafes and restaurants during the day.

In the past, women gathered on rooftops waiting to see the first moon of Ramadan, and the joy of the arrival of a dear guest on the people of Fez, followed by the “Nafar,” carrying a long pipe blowing seven puffs in either the mosque silo or walking through the streets of the old city and its old elegance announcing the coming of the holy month.

Once the crescent has been confirmed, Moroccans start exchanging greetings, saying: “Awashir Mabrouka”. The phrase is spoken in Moroccan colloquial meaning “blessed days”. It means dividing the month into 10 days for mercy, 10 for forgiveness, and 10 for freeing hell.

Newspapers and books are enjoying great popularity in the holy month, as Moroccans are more interested in reading.

It is also a special practice to play sports between Asr (afternoon) and Maghreb (sunset) for everyone.

They are good moments of entertainment. Weeks before Ramadan, the people of Morocco prepare their dishes and traditional clothing for decorations at each mosque.

One of the most important customs of the people of Morocco is gathering on the first day of Ramadan in the house of the father or grandparent of the family.

The Moroccan housewife is very interested in decorating the house and preparing it to receive guests from the family and neighbours. The house is adorned with natural flowers and green herbs.

One of the most popular customs of the month of Ramadan is the celebration of the first fasting of the children on the day of Ramadan, especially on the 27th of it. Celebrating this day is a manifestation of traditional Moroccan customs.

If the fasting child is a girl, she eats dates with her family, but in north Morocco, the child would eat a date on a wooden ladder to highlight ascending from fasting. Girls under puberty are characterised by a new dress, which is a traditional Moroccan women’s dress. Their hands are covered with henna inscriptions and their small bags are filled with dates, walnuts, and nuts.

The most important Ramadan dishes are Harira, or soup with vegetables, and the couscous is served every Friday in different ways. Grilled meat with tomato sauce is also served. As for the Moroccan iftar (braking the fast), Harira comes first. It is a sign of Ramadan, so they are considered the main dish for iftar. It is a mixture of a number of vegetables and spices served in traditional dishes called “Zlayev.” They add dates, milk, and eggs. Ramadan desserts are common, including “Shabakia” and “Sefof”, as well as dates.

During the holy month of Ramadan, Morocco organises collective iftars arranged by some charities, Islamic and otherwise, which are supported by the state.

And in Tunisia

The night before Ramadan is named “Kersh Night” and the celebration of the holy month begins before it is received. The month of Ramadan is celebrated as the month of weddings. Girls are engaged and given gifts on the 27th night, which is referred to as the season.

Some families also celebrate Lailat al-Qadr with the circumcision of their children by organising religious events prepared by Muslim groups until the time of suhoor (last meal before fasting).

Families from the wealthy classes organise nights called “Salameh” to mark the month of Ramadan. “Salameh” is a group of religious songs of Sufis. These celebrations are restricted to men. Women sometimes participate from afar.

It is customary for Tunisians to break the fast with dates and milk, perform Maghrib (sunset) prayer, and then return to the iftar table, which is characterised by Ramadan specials. Tunisians begin Ramadan iftar with the words “Sehat Sherbetkom”, which means health and wellness.

And the most important dishes on the Tunisian table is the Tajine in different types. Tajine is a popular dish that differs from one area to another.

The most important dessert dishes are “Raffees”, made of rice cooked with dates and raisins, or “Madmouga” made of sheets of fried dough, fragmented and stuffed with dates and sugar. In the north-west of Tunisia, porridge is prepared with flour, ghee, and honey. In the coast, pies are made with raisins. “Barracuche” is thick flour granules cooked with varieties of vegetables.

Algeria

Before the holy month of Ramadan begins, Algerians greet each other by saying “Sah Ramadankom”. Families begin to prepare and repaint houses, buy new utensils, and kitchen utensils, prepare all kinds of spices, and start shopping for Ramadan sweets such as dumplings, heart almonds, and other sweets.

Algerian families hold special celebrations for children who fast for the first time. Girls wear new dresses and sit as queens. Amidst a joyous celebration of their first fast, they sit in a high place at the time of iftar until they feel the attention and appreciation. Many Algerian families prefer to circumcise their sons on the night of the 27th of the month.

The Algerian table in Ramadan is characterised by a basic dish, Harira, as a soup. It is also unique to serve some foods such as “sweet meat”, a dish made of meat, dried plum, raisins, and rose water, and “Barboche” which is a couscous dish.

In addition to the soup, the bourak and the sweet tajine are appetisers.

For the dawn suhour meal, Algerians mostly eat couscous and “mousouf,” a dried couscous with raisins and yogurt.

Not only are Algerians interested in eating during the month of Ramadan, they are also keen on religious duties and worship, where mosques are crowded during Taraweeh prayers, and musical festivals vary widely, especially in the second half of the month. Many musical societies celebrate with different types of popular and Andalusian music.

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Eurovision 2019: Narrowing down the field https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/14/eurovision-2019-narrowing-down-the-field/ Tue, 14 May 2019 21:29:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698187 The post Eurovision 2019: Narrowing down the field appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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In a show of dazzling effects and extreme stylistic variety, 10 musical acts have qualified for the Eurovision song contest finale in Tel Aviv. Front-runners Greece and Australia were among the acts to make it through.After a colorful first semifinal Tuesday evening in Tel Aviv, the 10 countries selected to go on to the finale are Greece, Belarus, Serbia, Cyprus, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Australia, Iceland, San Marino and Slovenia.

The seven countries eliminated from the competition are Poland, Portugal, Montenegro, Finland, Hungary, Belgium and Georgia.

Elaborate productions

2019 marks a return of dazzle at Eurovision from a big LED screen. The most spectacular effects were employed in Australia's entry. Kate Miller-Heidke's "Zero Gravity" was all about the show, with the opera singer and two female acrobats resembling puppets impaled on poles, swaying this way and that as though floating in outer space. If only for its impeccable kitsch, the act was bound to go on to the finale, and with it, Australia has maintained its unbroken streak of always qualifying.

With Hatari's song "Hate Will Win," Iceland's entry had equally elaborate production values. In the background, red chains on the LED screens seemed to suggest that people have become machines.

Hatari growled and screamed a song of protest against capitalism. The three-piece band was supported by three backing dancers, all clad in rubber outfits, harnesses, masks and chains.

Estonia's Victor Crone had a far less forbidding message. In his upbeat ditty, despair gives way to fragile hope, then consolation and confidence. Crone's background as a music writer in Tennessee, New York and at Capitol Records in Los Angeles was apparent.

Surprising results

Serbia's entry, Nevena Bozovic, wore a black gown with one leg exposed. With much waving of her braceleted arms and tossing of hair, she sang her ballad "Kruna" (Crown) as background colors from the LED screen swirled and spiraled in a vortex up to the heavens.

In "Better Love," Greece's Katerine Duska, with her husky, dark, versatile voice, delivered a celebration of femininity. She was backed up in her all-female act by sword-bearing dancers in diaphanous chiffon-clad gowns who cavorted in front of a flower motif backdrop of lilies.

Certainly the biggest surprise of the evening was the qualification of Serhat from San Marino. His song "Say Na Na Na" was all fluff and no content before a candy-striped LED backdrop. This is the second Eurovision entry for the songwriter, music producer, TV host and producer.

In "Friend Of A Friend," the Czech Republic's young band Lake Malawi brought pure, feel-good pop, with lead singer Albert Cerny jumping between rectangular lit boxes.

The qualifiers also included a love song from Slovenia: singer Zala Kralj and guitarist Gasper Santl performed "Sebi" on a dark stage.

A colorful galaxy unfolded in the background, but the couple didn't budge from their position at center stage and gazed into each other's eyes throughout the three-minute song.

Netta's return

Opening this year's songfest with the motto "Dare to Dream," Netta Barzilai, last year's Eurovision winner, dazzled with a performance of her winning song "Toy," flanked by an army of dancers all wearing her trademark red garb.

Voting in the first semifinal was allowed for the participating countries, joined by Israel, Spain and France. Their decision determined half of the final result; the other half was determined by judges, experts in the music industry named by the participating public broadcasters.

The second semifinal for the Eurovision song contest will be held on Thursday, with the grand finale scheduled for Saturday.

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Ramadan charity ad backfires causing heavy wave of criticism https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/14/ramadan-charity-ad-backfires-causing-heavy-wave-of-criticism/ Tue, 14 May 2019 19:40:31 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698149 Advertisement does not even present quarter of cases we receive every day, says El-Sewedy

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For millions of Muslims, Ramadan is not only the holy month of fasting, but also a time of the good works as people think of each other. This goes beyond sharing food and family time, up to charity. As the season of the TV shows hit its peak throughout the holy month, the competition between charitable organisations relying on donations also gets fiercer. With dozens of ads showering satellite channels to grab as much attention as possible in order to collect donations, they aim to melt audience’s hearts for those who are in need. Nonetheless, the coin sometimes flips, causing people to feel the total opposite emotions, just like the latest ad of Ahl Masr Burns Hospital.

The hospital is the Middle East’s first and largest non-profit burn treatment medical complex. Relying on donations, the hospital has launched one of the main donation collection ads in Ramadan for the past few years.

This year’s ad featured the story of a mother mourning her little daughter’s death in a fire that overtook their apartment while celebrating her fourth birthday. In the background a song speaking of her daughter and the happy times they had together was playing.

While the ad’s purpose was to move audience about a story that occurs almost every day to thousands of people, it backfired due to its “cruelty” as people described.

The 50-second ad featured the devastated mother while remembering the hospitals that refused to offer her daughter treatment despite the severity of her injuries.

The short clip was accused of being drastic and harsh in delivering its message. Soon after its release, a few days ago, the campaign was hit by a wave of intense criticism and calls for boycotting it.

“Every time I see the ad, I intentionally switch the channel until it ends, I do not have any children, but just seeing it puts me in a terrible mood that I cannot get out of easily. They could have come up with another idea to deliver their message and we would have responded better to it,” a 35-year-old engineer told Daily News Egypt.

“Have you [ad makers] ever considered the devastation any mother who lost her child will feel every time she watches this ad? There are thousands of other ways to seek donation, other than the one that broke people’s hearts! Even if the truth is that terrible, people are not required to watch it every few minutes!” another user stated on Facebook.

From another perspective, several doctors organised an opposite campaign condemning the scene of the doctors’ refusals to treat the child who suffer burn injuries.

“Even if the hospital is not equipped for such cases, we will not refuse an emergency case, without doing anything [as the ad features]. When a mother steps in holding her daughter, we do not stand there helplessly. Actually, we try our best to save her even if there is no enough space for the case,” said physician Alaa Nafea on Facebook.

In her defence, Heba El-Sewedy, the CEO of Ahl Masr Burns Hospital, stated that the ad does not even present a quarter of the cases that the hospital receives every day.

“The ad is based on a true story that personally happened to me, and was the reason behind my decision of establishing a hospital dedicated to burn causalities,” El-Swedy said in an official statement.

She further wondered about the suitable way to portray a cruel truth.

“I am a mother who lost her only child. I know for sure what it means to have a wound that never heals. However, I stand everyday helpless in front of other parents who are still losing their kids for not having any equipped hospitals to cure them,” she added.

According to El-Swedy there are 250,000 burn causalities every year, only 20,000 are admitted into hospitals, while 35% of them die at the first six hours due to not having a well-equipped hospital to treat them.

“We cannot beautify any of the burn cases, because each one of them is a tragedy that is heart breaking. These people deserve to have their voices haired, not to turn our faces away from them,” she added.

This is not the first time a Ramadan charity campaign is met with heavy criticism. Actually, most of the NGOs changed their policy in advertising after a huge wave of anger was dedicated to refuse the tremendous amount of negative energy and loosing hope their ads spread. Instead, institutions turned into musicals and spotlighting their roles in actual survival stories to convince people of donating.

Among the organisations that were criticised the most was Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation and Baheia Hospital, the first hospital for the early detection of breast cancer.

Most of those organisations are privately established with budgets that exceed those of government hospitals. They can also find another form of funding or create a less expensive form of advertising or social campaigns. However, they choose to make ads that may irritate people rather than convince them to donate.

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Cima Masr: project reviving cinema’s culture awareness https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/14/cima-masr-project-reviving-cinemas-culture-awareness/ Tue, 14 May 2019 19:35:57 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698114 Cima Masr is a project that aims to establish a large number of cinema theatres among Egypt’s various governorates, as well as produce a number of films for amateur young filmmakers

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Cima Masr is a sturdy step on the road to ameliorate the industry’s current standing, especially following recent social and economic changes, says Hadi ElBagoury

While the regular outing of a good film to watch at the cinema might be the normal hanging out time for many people, it is the ultimate dream for thousands of Egyptian, which is soon to come true under the umbrella of Cima Masr.

Cima Masr is a project that aims to establish a large number of cinema theatres among Egypt’s various governorates, as well as produce a number of films for amateur young filmmakers. The campaign comes as a part of President Abd El Fattah El Sisi’s call, which stresses the significance of reviving the Egyptian identity through cinema.

Under the direction of prominent Egyptian director Hadi Elbagoury, the initiative aims to raise people’s awareness through cinemas in areas that need to improve residents’ awareness.

Elbagoury, the initiative’s business development manager, stated in a press release that “Cima Masr is a sturdy step on the road to ameliorate the industry’s current standing, especially following recent social and economic changes.”

He added that “the three-year endeavour primarily aims at bringing the public back to film theatres, as well as foster an environment where local artists are able to articulate their skills with the help of experts, ultimately providing audiences with purposeful art.”

For his side, Hany Ghoniem, chairperson of the board of trustees at the Egyptian Foundation for Strategic Studies and Research (EFSSR) clarified that the project is only the first step of a long way toward creating “a new generation within the filmmaking industry.”

Ghoniem also stressed the impact of spreading this culture across all governorates of Egypt through a series of productions which cater to all segments of society and helps in bringing them back to theatres.

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History of Ramadan Desserts https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/14/history-of-ramadan-desserts/ Tue, 14 May 2019 09:00:46 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698021 Konafeh, Qatayef, Baklava

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Whenever the holy month of Ramadan comes around, various images come to our minds, like Ramadan decorations, lanterns, meals, and desserts like konafeh, qatayef and baklava, which are some of the main dishes with a long history. These desserts were always on the tables of kings, princes, and caliphs in the older eras. It is said that these dishes were specifically made to impress princes and satisfy them.

Konafeh dates back to the Umayyad dynasty. There are many stories concerning when they began. It was said that the people of Belad Al-Sham came up with these dishes to be served during suhoor (meal before fasting) to Mu’awiya bin Abi Sufyan–the first caliph of the Umayyad dynasty–as he wanted a dish to satisfy his hunger during fasting hours.

Abi Sufyan was a food lover who complained to his doctor about the hunger he felt during the day, so his doctor advised him to ear complex carbs, high-value sugars, and fats, which are not quickly digested and reduce hunger pans, therefore Konafeh was created for him.

It is said that the palace chef once made a liquid paste, then a scoop fell into the bowl of dough in thin threads on the stove which impressed the chef so he decided to dip it in margarine and then heated it until it became red, then he poured honey over it and served it to the caliph who liked it a lot.

Some say that Abi Sufyan was the first to come up with konafeh and that it was known for a while as “Mu’awya’s konafeh”.

It then became a habit to eat konafeh in Ramadan and became a food that the rich and poor equally love, making it a popular dish.

In another story, konafeh was made especially for Soliman bin Abdelmalek Al-Amawy. It is said that it dates back to the era of Mamluks who ruled Egypt during the period from 1250-1517 AH.

Islamic history scholars say that konafeh dates back to the Fatimid period which extended from 969 AH to 1172AH. They ruled Egypt, Morocco, and Belad Al-Sham. They say that konafeh appeared in Egypt then spread to Belad Al-Sham. This coincided with Caliph Al Moez Leldein Allah Al-Fatimi entering Cairo during Ramadan. The people went out to receive him, racing to present gifts to him after iftar, including Konafeh.

The first kind of konafeh is called “shaar” (hair) which looks like threads of hair, and it is called “machine konafeh”. The second is “hand konafeh”, which mainly depends on a traditional method with a pan that has holes. It is called “popular konafeh”.

Even though technology has taken over the making of konafeh, there are still konafeh makers who go by the traditional methods of making konafeh.

Over time, making konafeh has become a science taught at universities and it remains today one of the most favourite dishes in the east. Each country has its own unique way of making and stuffing konafeh. The people of Belad Al-Sham stuff it with cream, the people of Mecca stuff it with cheese and no salt. The people of Nablus are famous for their amazing cheese konafeh.

As for “qatayef,” it is said that their name is derived from “qateefa” which means “velvet” because “qatayef” feel like the soft velvet. It is believed that “qatayef” dates back to the Mamluk era and was served as a stuffed pie for guests to eat.

Some believe that “qatayef” was older than “konafeh” as sweet makers were competing to make the most delicious dessert dish and to serve it beautifully. In Ramadan the importance of “qatayef” and “kanafeh” persists.

As for “baklava,” historians differ on the origin of the dish and whether it emerged from the Turkish or Greek culture.

“Baklava” is a type of sweet made from thin paste chips and has sugar and margarine added to it. It is then stuffed with nuts.

It is said that Turkey learned about the dish for the first time in the ear of Mohamed the fourth as he used to love is wife “Mah Yara” who was known as “Rabaa”. He would not eat food made by anyone but her, so she invented a new dish for him, which was “baklava,” and when he tasted it for the first time, he said it was not like anything he has tasted before, so the name was then used.

As for the relevance of “baklava” to Ramadan, according to the book “The Ottoman Empire” by Donald Quataert, the emergence of “baklava” was in the late 17th century in the second half of Ramadan. During Ramadan at the time of iftar, the sultans would visit Topkapi Palace where the mantle of the Prophet was kept, and would distribute “baklava.” It is a tradition that has been followed until the era of Sultan Abdelhameed.

The making of “baklava” moved to Syria and the first person to introduce it was Fareeg from Istanbul. He lived in Halab and opened a shop for “baklava” in Ramadan.

“Baklava” is one of the reasons there is a dispute between Turkey and Cyprus because of the brochures distributed in Austria on the Europe Celebration day where “baklava” was stated as a dessert from Greek Cypriots.

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Eurovision's Orange Carpet in Tel Aviv https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/13/eurovisions-orange-carpet-in-tel-aviv/ Mon, 13 May 2019 13:12:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698046 The post Eurovision's Orange Carpet in Tel Aviv appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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There’s very little that is not known about the Eurovision Song Contest. Every effort is made to insure maximum exposure for the artists, including an “Orange Carpet” reception.With the last of the countries' entries announced weeks ago, the official Eurovision videos have long since been been generating untold numbers of online views.

Each step of the yearly ritual has been assiduously reported on the contest's websites eurovision.de and eurovision.tv, from the arrivals of the contestants and their entourages in Tel Aviv to sneak previews of their final shows taken from the first phase of rehearsals last week. Multiple press conferences have given the artists every possible exposure.

The upcoming semifinals on Tuesday and Thursday will have three dress rehearsals each, as will the finale on Saturday, May 18, with many of these run-throughs open to the public.

Endless hype

There was no calm before the storm on the weekend either. On a mild Sunday evening on Habima Square in Tel Aviv, the Orange (not Red) Carpet Reception gave a complete review of the contestants from all 41 participating countries. Roughly half of the audience were the hundreds of accredited international journalists, the other half general public.

Although most Eurovision events run like clockwork, the four-hour marathon experienced long delays with the artists' limousines tied up in traffic in the bustling city. Access to the journalists' entrance was blocked for roughly half an hour by security forces until a small group of silent protesters that had gathered there were dispelled. There was no tension surrounding the incident, which authorities and spectators described as an expression of free speech.

Transmitted by Israeli public broadcaster KAN, the reception generated plenty of pomp and noise, from 16-year-old Zena of Belarus to Serhat, 53, delegated by San Marino. Like Oto Nemsadze from Georgia, many of the artists paused every few feet along the way to sing a refrain from their ESC song.

Then, a murmur went through the crowd: "Bilal is coming!" Wearing a white monstrosity of a dress, the French male singer, probably the most glamorous act of the season, drifted over the carpet, followed by an assistant whose responsibility it was to maintain order in his attire.

Positive energy on the orange carpet

All the artists were eager to talk with the journalists. Eighteen-year-old singer Eliot from Belgium called it the most amazing experience of his life, and Chingiz from Aerbaidschan said he enjoyed the "positive energy" on the orange carpet.

One group opted not to spread good spirits however. Iceland, which at one point considered boycotting this year's Eurovision Song Contest out of protest over Israel politics, sent the group Hatari to Tel Aviv. Scowling behind masks and black contact lenses, the group wear bizarre, attention-gathering costumes with an S&M look.

Netta and S!sters

Another highlight of the evening was Netta, the winner of last year's ESC, who will open the first semifinal on Tuesday with a repeat performance of her winning song "Toy."

Excited to have had a close-up view of Netta were the two German candidates, Carlotta und Laurita, the duo known as "S!sters." Like them, some of the acts are using the Eurovision Song Contest as the launchpad for an international career. Others are already stars in their homelands. But for one evening on the Orange Carpet, everyone was a megastar.

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TikTok collaborates with Met to revive its art work legacy https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/13/tiktok-collaborates-with-met-to-revive-its-art-work-legacy/ Mon, 13 May 2019 12:30:40 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697948 The Met announced last week a new collaboration with the world’s leading short video platform, TikTok, where it launches an official account with hashtags for people to interact with, and challenges to bring out users’ creativity.

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Over the past few months, short videos of people dancing, and singing have been going viral on social media showcasing hidden talents and unbelievable imaginativeness by users. The worldwide leading application, TikTok, has taken over social media and mobile apps, leaving the sky as the limit for users. When thinking about the creativity of users, combining it with the legacy and beauty of inherited art, collaborating with the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) in New York comes to present the best combination of alluring art of the museum and the ultimate innovation of users.

The Met announced last week a new collaboration with the world’s leading short video platform, TikTok, where it launches an official account with hashtags for people to interact with, and challenges to bring out users’ creativity. The collaboration aims to bring people’s attention to the art of the Met in a modernised, creative way.

Starting with two main campaigns, one about the Met Gala and the other about going back to the classics, the elite museum aims to highlight its existing art in number of countries, including in global markets suc as the UK; France; Germany;, Poland, Spain; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; Indonesia; Singapore; Vietnam; Thailand; the Philippines; Turkey; Mexico; Brazil, and others.

“As a global cultural institution, the Met’s mission is to engage audiences with art from our collection of over 1.5m objects spanning over 5,000 years of human history – and there is no better place to do so than one of the world’s fastest-growing social media communities,” said Kenneth Weine, vice president and chief communications officer at the Met, in a press release.

In his statement, Weine added that the application is a tool for the museum to strengthen its ties with the audience, and attract them to the beauty of the art existing at the Met.

“TikTok reaches hundreds of millions of users, many of whom are art enthusiasts. We look forward to deepening our connection with this audience, and to seeing the multiple creative ways they engage with the Met collection,” he added.

For their side, the application announced that such collaboration comes to bring out the best of people’s innovation.

“TikTok allows users to showcase and consume the world’s creativity, knowledge and moments that matter in everyday life, and is committed to building a community by encouraging users to share their passion through their videos,” said Blake Chandlee, head of Global Brand Partnerships at TikTok.

“Together with the Met, we are launching a campaign with two challenges to empower people to express their creative ideas, as we celebrate trends and embrace diversity on this vibrant platform,” he pointed out.

The latest collaboration of the two sides, took place at the Met Gala, where  users were asked to “create original content inspired by the parade of fashion seen on the red carpet at The Costume Institute’s annual benefit, the Met Gala.”

The duo started by the end of April, when both partners published the #SaluteToClassics challenge, where the spark of the classics glimmered in the skies of the selected countries.

Users in the challenge willingly travelled back in time and place to present what it would be like if they were art figures, or if they were a part of an artwork scene.

According to the press release, the global challenge offers a prize of an all-expenses paid five-night trip to New York and the chance to be among the first to visit the spring 2019 Costume Institute exhibition, Camp: Notes on Fashion.

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AUC increases award of Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature to $3,000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/13/auc-increases-award-of-naguib-mahfouz-medal-for-literature-to-3000/ Mon, 13 May 2019 12:00:05 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697945 Medal awards best contemporary novel published in Arabic in last 2 years

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For novels, which writers spend months of hard work in order to bring them to the light, being rewarded and getting international accreditation is their lifelong dream for many of them. Being acknowledged for producing for people a world carved by beautifully sewn words, on rhythmically portrayed backgrounds, is the recognition of being a unique writer many look up to, and get to live through the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature.

The American University in Cairo (AUC) announced it will increase the award of the literature’s accreditation into a silver medal and a cash prize of $3,000, instead of $1,000, as well as translation and publication by AUC Press’s fiction imprint Hoopoe.

The prestigious university increases the prize as a incentive to encourage amateur writers and to support them in the field of story writing.

The Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature is one of the Middle East’s biggest awards in its fields. It has been the biggest literature award in Egypt since its establishment in 1996. The medal awards the best contemporary novel published in Arabic in the last two years.

The AUC issued the announcement as a part of the preparation for 2019’s ceremony. It also declared this year’s jury will include Ibrahim Nasrallah, who is an acclaimed writer, novelist, and literary critic.

Writer, literary critic, and cultural consultant Hebba Sherif is also a member in this year’s jury.

For the technicalities and linguistic eloquence, the role is undertaken by Samah Selim, a translator and associate professor of Arabic Language and Literature at Rutgers University in the United States, and  Shereen Abouelnaga, a literary critic and professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cairo University, as well as Humphrey Davies, an award-winning translator of Arabic literature into English.

The jury is to announce this year’s shortlisted writers on 16 September, and will announce the winner on December 11, coinciding with the birthday of Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz in 1911.

Last year, the 2018 Mahfouz Medal went to Saudi Arabian writer Omaima Al-Khamis for her novel Masra al-gharaniq fi mudun al-‘aqiq (Voyage of the Cranes in the Cities of Agate), which was described by the committee at the time to be “a serious novel that speaks to our time through history.  It takes the form of a journey from Arabia northwards and westwards to Andalusia, through the great cities of the Arab world in the eleventh century during the titular rule of the weakened Abbasids in Baghdad, the Fatimids in Cairo, and the warring factions of Islamic rule in Spain.”

So far, the 25 winners of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature since its inauguration include 11 women and 14 men; 12 Egyptians (two posthumously); three Palestinians; one Algerian; two Lebanese; one Moroccan; two Syrians; one Iraqi; one Sudanese, and one Saudi Arabian, according to the AUC Press.

It also added that the “AUC Press has been the primary publisher of Naguib Mahfouz’s English-language editions for more than thirty years, and has also been responsible for the publication of some 600 foreign-language editions of the Nobel laureate’s works in more than 40 languages around the world since the author won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. With some 50 new publications annually and more than 800 titles in print, AUC Press is recognized as the region’s leading English-language publisher.”

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Ramadan Cannon https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/13/ramadan-cannon/ Mon, 13 May 2019 10:00:22 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697930 The Ramadan cannon is one of the most important habits during the holy month, and while people’s fasting really depends on the time of Maghreb and Fajr (dawn) prayers, the cannon remains a sign of Ramadan that all children love to hear.

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“The cannon is fired. It is now the time for Maghreb (sunset) prayers in Cairo, and residents who live outside Cairo must take the time difference into consideration.” This is an Egyptian statement that all Egyptians know by heart.

The Ramadan cannon is one of the most important habits during the holy month, and while people’s fasting really depends on the time of Maghreb and Fajr (dawn) prayers, the cannon remains a sign of Ramadan that all children love to hear.

The Ramadan cannon announces the end of the fasting period as the sun sets, and is a way of telling the public that it is time for them to eat. It is a tradition followed in many Islamic countries as the army fires the cannon once the sun sets to announce the end of fasting.

Experts say that the habit came by chance, as back in 1455 AH on the first day of Ramadan, the governor at the time, whose name was “Khosh Qadam,” had received a cannon as a gift from a German factory owner. He ordered his army to try it and it coincided with the time of Maghreb prayer, so residents of Cairo thought it was to announce that it is time for Iftar (breaking their fast). On the next day, everyone went to the governor’s house to thank him for his gift to the residents of Cairo. Ever since, the cannon would fire every day at sunset to announce the Iftar, and this continues to this very day.

As for the secret behind naming the cannon “Haja Fatma”, in 859 AH the cannon of Khosh Qadam stopped firing, so scholars and wise men gathered to talk to the governor about firing it. However, when they went to meet him, they did not find him and instead met Haja Fatma who was wife. She passed their request to the governor and he approved it, so the habit of firing the cannon returned. Ever since, people named the cannon Haja Fatma.

Until 1859 AH the cannon continued to fire using live ammunition, however, as the number of buildings increased around the area where the cannon was located, less live ammunition was used. Also, people started complaining about the effect of the ammunition on the citadel’s famous buildings, so it was moved from the citadel to a spot in El Darrasa area near Al-Azhar, then it was moved again to the area of Bo’ous near Al-Azhar University.

Until recently, Cairo had six cannons in four locations. Two were in the caste, two in Abbaseya, one in Masr El Gedida and one in Helwan. They would all fire at the same time in various locations in Cairo so all residents would hear.

Currently, the cannon is located on a hill in Mokattam because of the concerns of experts about the effect of firing the cannon on the citadel as an archaeological area. There are many other cannons in various Egyptian governorates. Those who fire it are security individuals who prepare gunpowder every day to fire the cannon.

The idea then spread in Bila Al-Sham, then to Iraq and Kuwait, then to Gulf countries, Yemen, Sudan, west African countries and East Asian countries.

In the Gulf countries, the Iftar cannon is of a great value and an important Ramadan tradition. You can find replicas of cannons in all museums in Gulf countries.

In Medinah in Saudi Arabia, about three years ago, the residents of the country insisted that the cannon tradition returns, even though there were TVs and phones at the time. The cannon fired once again in Medinah after stopping for 20 years. In Qatar, people and tourists gather to see and hear the cannon as Maghrib prayer starts throughout Ramadan.

In Bahrain, specifically in Manama, people gather with their children to watch the cannon fire every day.

Kuwait was the first Gulf country to use the cannon.

In Oman, even though firing a cannon has become an old tradition, you can still find models and replicas of cannons in many tourist areas and museums.

Emirates is one of the countries that continue to maintain its cannon tradition, as the cannon of Sharjah is fired every day in Ramadan. In Dubai, the cannon can be found opposite Burj Khalifa. It is fired from the highest tower in the world.

In Lebanon, the cannon disappeared during the civil war and returned again in Beirut as the Lebanese army continues to fire it in the capital, however, the tradition certainly became less prevalent.

In Tunisia, for many years, many people knew it was time for Iftar only through the sound of the cannon, especially in the older cities, however that tradition disappeared for a while. There are now initiatives to demand firing the cannon again to bring back good old traditions.

The city of Kairouan maintains that tradition. The tradition includes firing the cannon three times to announce Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.

In Syria, the cannon is one of the symbols of Ramadan. In Damascus, a cannon used to be placed on Qasiyn mountain, but with urban expansions, Damascus had 17 cannons, and the country still maintains the tradition.

In Bosnia, the authorities use the cannon to announce the start of Ramadan. It is fired daily at the time of Maghrib prater. In some rural areas, a gun is filled with gunpowder and shot every day near a mosque’s minaret at the time of the Maghrib prayer to announce that it is time to break the fasting.

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Kelany’s Mawaed Al-Rahman: once small table, now serving over 800 people https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/12/kelanys-mawaed-al-rahman-once-small-table-now-serving-over-800-people/ Sun, 12 May 2019 12:00:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697813 “I have been organising Mawaed Al-Rahman for 22 years, and we have never faced any financial issue to offer free meals to people. We can serve over 800 meals daily in Ramadan,” said Mahasen Kelany, the founder of one of the biggest Ramadan charity tables in Hadayek Al-Kobba. Mawaed Al-Rahman (tables of charity) are one …

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“I have been organising Mawaed Al-Rahman for 22 years, and we have never faced any financial issue to offer free meals to people. We can serve over 800 meals daily in Ramadan,” said Mahasen Kelany, the founder of one of the biggest Ramadan charity tables in Hadayek Al-Kobba.

Mawaed Al-Rahman (tables of charity) are one of the oldest traditions of Ramadan in Egypt. Mawaed Al-Rahman offer free iftars (fast breaking meals) bringing different factions of society together which promotes social solidarity and compassion among people.

In Egypt, Mawaed Al-Rahman are an inseparable part of Egypt’s history through which the people aim to leave no one without Iftar.

Kelany’s charity tables started in the middle of 1980s, after both of her parents died.

“I organised it on a small scale in the beginning, on behalf of their souls so as to increase their good deeds,” she told Daily News Egypt, referring to an Islamic belief that someone’s deeds can increase by good actions dedicated to his soul.

Her charity tables presented reasonable amounts of home-cooked food. Expanding over the years, Kelany’s Mawaed Al-Rahman can serve almost 800 meals daily in Ramadan.

“Anyone is welcome to have Iftar on the established tables here in the street. We also send food to needy families,” she said.

Over 80 volunteers help Kelany in establishing charity tables daily, where some cook the food and others serve it to “guests” and organise the process.

The expenses of holding charity tables increase annually due to price hikes in Egypt. The whole thing costs Kelany about EGP 4,500 daily. However, this never stopped her from serving free food to people, even when she does not have enough money.

Kelany’s Mawaed Al-Rahman usually serve rice, soup, vegetables, and fruits.

“Sometimes I don’t have enough money to hold Mawaed Al-Rahman for the next day, but suddenly donations start pouring in from unknown people, which makes me believe that I am just a tool to deliver food for the people,” she concluded.

All photos taken by Fadel Dawood.   

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Dates: Ramadan traditions at Muslim iftar worldwide https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/12/dates-ramadan-traditions-at-muslim-iftar-worldwide/ Sun, 12 May 2019 10:00:42 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697797 The majority of Muslims break their fast with dates in different countries of the world because of its high nutritional value which is suitable for fasting and is considered one of the Sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet. You will find that Muslims buy dates in abundance before the month of Ramadan so that it is …

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The majority of Muslims break their fast with dates in different countries of the world because of its high nutritional value which is suitable for fasting and is considered one of the Sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet. You will find that Muslims buy dates in abundance before the month of Ramadan so that it is also distributed to passers-by in the streets and at mosques.

The most important dishes for iftar vary from one country to another. Egypt is famous for its various delicacies on the Ramadan table such as Al-Khoshaf (a mixture of dates, figs, apricots, and kamar-din juice), Molokhia with rabbits, okra with meat, grape leaves, mahshi, and soup.

In the Sudan, they break fast on sweet and sour juice made from maize, wheat, boiled legumes, boiled wheat and porridge.

The most important feature of the Sudanese is the communal iftar, where each family meets with its neighbours at a communal iftar in the street.

The most important table dishes in Tunisia are called “haririya”, as well as the salad of grilled vegetables with olive oil and spices and the “Brik” dish, topping the tables in most homes, which is large pies stuffed with chicken and meat, and comes with Rafsya, made of rice cooked with dates, raisins, in addition to the famous couscous.

Yemenis usually start with dates, water or coffee, then go to the mosque to pray the maghrib (sunset prayer) and return to the house. The table contains several items, including “shafut and soup”. The first is made of bread and yoghurt; the second is made of crushed wheat, mixed with milk and sugar or meat broth according to tastes.

Desserts are a mixture of Yemeni and Indian sweets such as Bint Al-Sahan, Al-Rawani, Al-Kanafah, Katayef, Basbosa, and baklawa.

In the month of Ramadan, the Turks do not differ from others in iftar on dates or olives, and cheese of all kinds. In Ramadan, bakeries bake a special bread that is only seen during the month of Ramadan. It is called “Bida,” a Persian word for a type of pies in different sizes. Children stand in long lines just before iftar time to get fresh pies.

In Malaysia, the people of the countryside meet especially for iftar together every day. They make Fatri Mundi, a famous meal in the month of Ramadan, and the most important Malaysian custom is that every house in the village feeds all the village on one day.

One of the most popular foods to be served at the iftar table during Ramadan is the Gatry Mundi meal, which is the most popular Malaysian dish, as well as the Badeq, which is made from flour. There is chicken and rice alongside dates, bananas and oranges.

China’s Muslims begin iftar with dates and sweet tea.

And in Pakistan, Bakora is made throughout the month composed of sweet potato mixed with spices, and the Roh Afza juice of a mixture of vegetable and fruit preparations.

In India, they prepare a special dish called gingi, which is like soup, made of rice flour, a little meat and spices, and cooked in water. This is a liquid that is drunk at iftar.

Indian iftar includes rice and a food called “Dahi Bhdi” similar to “falafel with yogurt” and “boiled lentils”.

In Uzbekistan, Muslim families hold mass iftars and invite neighbours, relatives, and friends to attend. The number of invited guests is sometimes 100, and lamb is slaughtered, and bread is baked with oil and milk. Dates and black or green tea are served at iftar.

In Japan, a group iftar is held in most mosques. Muslims go for iftar, usually milk and dates.

One of the most popular meals is Kaiseki, a vegetable meal, with the famous juices and pickles known as Tsukimono, which are important landmarks for Japanese cuisine, along with fish dishes and marine species.

And in Uganda, people gather every day in one of the selected houses. The people eat their iftar, which is often made up of soups, grilled bananas and bread, after performing the Maghrib prayer.

The next day, another house is chosen for iftar. One of the strangest customs of the Ugandan Lango tribes in Ramadan, is the wives beating on their heads before iftar, after which the woman prepares the iftar.

In Iraq, Iraqi dates, known as “dates of Basra” or “Al-Khastawi” and milk, are the most important dishes in Ramadan, along with a drink named “Nomi Basra,” a special drink which Iraqis drink during the Suhur (evening meal before fasting) and iftar, and is said to cure headaches.

On the first day of Ramadan in Thailand, every Muslim family must slaughter a sacrifice to celebrate the month of Ramadan. Poor families even slaughter a bird. Before iftar, women leave their homes in groups, sit in front of a house, eat iftar together, and so do the men.

In Thailand, Muslims are keen to eat fruits in Ramadan, and the Thai community bakes cakes made of rice and milk. Also on the first day of Ramadan, the family meets at the family home for iftar, usually the grandfather’s house.

In the UAE and the GCC countries in general, dates are the most important element of Ramadan food, which is used in the preparation of various types of UAE sweets, such as the disk, which are small pieces of bread mixed with dates.

In Afghanistan, there are many who take food to the mosque and break fast together; they begin to eat dates with water, and one of the most famous foods in Ramadan is the minto, the pulani and the Afghan rice, which are pastries mixed with rice and spices.

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The Eurovision Song Contest 2019 picks up steam https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/10/the-eurovision-song-contest-2019-picks-up-steam/ Fri, 10 May 2019 14:22:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697666 The post The Eurovision Song Contest 2019 picks up steam appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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The artists and their entourages are now in Tel Aviv. As the city prepares to receive thousands of guests, rehearsals have begun on the Expo grounds."We'll insure that people have a fabulous time," promised Eytan Schwartz, head of public relations for the city of Tel Aviv. Equipping the city for thousands of visitors was a major logistic challenge. Then there's that other problem: buses don't run on the Sabbath. In their stead, Schwartz organized free shuttles. One sleepless night fewer for the organizers in Tel Aviv, with rockets potentially fired from the Gaza Strip never far from anyone's mind.

But every precaution is being taken to ban any kind of problem here in the coming days. More than just a competition held in Israel, this year the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is an opportunity to project a different image of the country: open to the world, queer, happy, colorful and tolerant. A counter-proposal to the world of ultra-Orthodox Jews and their strict mores; a microcosm where controversial settlement policies and conflicts with Palestinians aren't part of the picture.

With its reputation as a lively party town, Tel Aviv wants to show that it can organize the colorful ESC fest.

More pomp than in 2018 in Lisbon

No matter how good the song or talented the singer, the stage show is an essential ingredient. ESC nerds have been familiar with all 41 songs of the participating countries for weeks, but up to the rehearsal phase, the sets were kept strictly secret.

It was clear from the beginning that the scaled-back shows in Lisbon in 2018 and Kyiv in 2017 would belong to the past. German stage designer Florian Wieder was given different instructions in 2019: to devise a stage that is "iconic, unique, innovative and trailblazing."

Cult guests

Ten of the 17 countries competing in the first semifinal on Tuesday will go on from there. The same goes for the second semifinal on Thursday, with 18 entering the fray.

At the final on Saturday, May 18, they will be joined by the six regular participants, those countries with the greatest contributions to the budget of the competition's organizer, the European Broadcasting Union: Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and Spain. They're joined by Israel, the host country, which has entered one of its brightest stars, Kobi Marimi.

By that time, those six will have already been introduced to the audiences in the form of short excerpts from their songs played in between acts at the semifinals.

Each show has a side program featuring illustrious guests. ESC aficionados are already looking forward to a re-encounter with Dana International and Verka Serduchka. In an interesting twist, Conchita (from Austria), Mans Zelmerlow (from Sweden) and Eleni Foureira (from Cyprus) will trade their songs. Netta, the champion of last year's competition, will officially open this year's with her song "Toy." A high point on the final day will be a performance by superstar Madonna.

The spectrum of songs is wide, including some that deviate from the norm. As always, in the run-up, all eyes are trained on the bookies' favorites lists. The betting ratios are considered early indicators of the final result. Sometimes the numbers fluctuate, so surprises are entirely possible in the days leading up to finale. The current three top-ranked artists are Duncan Laurence from the Netherlands, Luca Hänni of Switzerland and Mahmood from Italy.

Carlotta und Laurita, who as S!sters will enter the fray for Germany, have not yet fared well: bet makers have placed them somewhere at the bottom of the heap. But should they perform convincingly, the two young singers could be headed upward over the course of the week — as happened with Michael Schulte in Lisbon in 2018. Initially a long shot, he surged in the final days and landed an impressive fourth place.

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Video: In a surprise move Hisham Talaat Moustafa reveals Madinaty song by Assala https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/09/video-in-a-surprise-move-hisham-talaat-moustafa-reveals-madinaty-song-by-assala/ Thu, 09 May 2019 00:09:37 +0000 https://www.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=697602 Hisham Talaat Moustafa Group has launched a new song for the Madinaty city.

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Hisham Talaat Moustafa Group has launched a new song for the Madinaty city. The new song Madinaty vocal is the prominent singer Assala and is written by the poet Amir Taima and composed by Amr Mostafa. The words of the new Madinati song by Hisham Talaat Moustafa focused on the city’s beauty, the strong relationship between the city built by Hisham Talaat Moustafa Group and its residents, and Madinaty’s vibrant society.

 

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The story behind  Ramadan Lantern https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/08/the-story-behind-ramadan-lantern/ Wed, 08 May 2019 12:53:50 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697515 lanterns were used by women on their way to the mosques, and they are led by a young man, so that the passers-by will notice that there are women on the road, and give them right of way.

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The month of Ramadan has been associated with a number of customs which differ from other months and add joy to Egyptian houses and streets. People still cling to the revival of these old customs because they became rituals related to the holy month. Among these are the “Ramadan Lantern” which families are keen to acquire and decorate houses, shops, and balconies with. Lantern means lamp and is called Fanoos in Arabic.

But the question here is about the origin of the lantern, which was used by people as a special means of lighting especially when going to mosques at night and then it transformed into a Ramadan tradition.

In Islamic history, you find that Egyptians are the first to invent the idea of the “Ramadan Lantern” where it dates back to the era of the Fatimid state to then move from Egypt to all countries of the world. The Fatimid caliph used to go out on the night before Ramadan along with children, each of them carrying a lantern to light the way as they sang in celebration for the holy month. In another story, one of the Fatimid caliphs ordered the lighting of mosques throughout the month of Ramadan with lanterns and candles. It is also reported that lanterns were used by women on their way to the mosques, and they are led by a young man, so that the passers-by will notice that there are women on the road, and give them right of way.

The origin of the lantern was associated with the presence of the Mesaharaty who walked the streets, calling on sleepers to wake up to eat the suhoor (last evening meal before fasting). At that time, he walked the streets with a young child carrying a lantern.

Another story is that the lantern is a Coptic tradition associated with Christmas, where people used it and used colourful candles to celebrate Christmas.

But it is historically clear that the lantern industry started in Egypt in the Fatimid era and there was a group of craftsmen who manufactured and stored it until the month of Ramadan came. Al-Maqrizi says in his book: “He gathered five hundred craftsmen in Fatimid Cairo neighbourhoods before the month to make lanterns.”

The lanterns were often made of copper and the less expensive types from tin and coloured glass with a wooden base to place the candle in, with the addition of decorations and hand engravings.

The lanterns were placed on a tin box with a candle in it. The glass was then fitted with tin and some of the openings that made the candle continued to ignite. Then the glass, metal, and wood were developed. The glass was coloured in different colours, which is refined in different workshops and shaped in the form of a lantern, and different forms of lanterns and sizes with time became lit by the wick and oil. It continued evolving to take many shapes until it reached the current plastic one and those battery-operated ones.

Then the electric lantern appeared, which depends on a battery, and a lamp instead of the candle, and there are also lanterns with songs.

We cannot say that the lantern industry is a seasonal industry, but it goes on all year with lanterns to of different shapes, stored for sale during Ramadan.

Cairo is considered one of the most important Islamic cities where the lantern industry flourishes and there are certain areas famous for manufacturing lanterns such as the area near Al-Azhar and Al-Ghouriya, Bab Al-Sha’riya, and Sayeda Zeinab.

In these areas you will find the most famous workshops and the most famous families who inherited this craft.

The most famous names in the world of lanterns is the “Parliament” which was named after a similar lantern was used to decorate the hall of the Egyptian Parliament in the 30s of the last century, as well as the lantern called “Farouk,” which bears the name of the former king of Egypt, which was designed to celebrate the royal palace on the birthday of King Farouk. About 500 lanterns were bought on the day to decorate the royal palace.

Lanterns have been called by many throughout history such as Abu Hushwa, Abu Sharaf, Abu Al-Walid, etc. The reason for these tales is that the craftsmen who designed these lanterns were keen to write their names on them.

Although the majority of stories recount that the launch of the lantern industry is in Egypt, but its association with Ramadan over time spread throughout Islamic countries, to become a manifestations of the holy month of Ramadan.

In the city of Jerusalem, for example, the Old City market and the Bab Al-Wad road, especially are designated for the iron lanterns with hand-painted and decorative stained glass, where they are sold during the month of Ramadan and despite their expensive prices, they are very popular, and families are keen to buy them.

Songs related to the lantern:

One of the most ancient customs which currently disappeared was that of the children holding lanterns and walking the streets singing.

The song Wahawy Ya Wahay was written by the poet Hussein Helmy Al-Manstrali, born in 1892, who worked in the ministry of education. He has a palace in Manial El-Rawda. He wrote many folk songs and monologues. The song is composed by Ahmed El-Sherif and by singer Ahmed Abdelkader.

The word Wahawy is an ancient Pharaonic word meaning of gold or flight, and the word (Ayouh or Ayah) means the moon or crescent, and the song was a greeting to the moon, and since the Fatimid era a special greeting to the crescent of Ramadan. And there is another opinion which says that the words of the song are Pharonic and were translated in Arabic to mean ‘Shine Moon’ and is repeated to express celebrations. It could be also translated to “O what a shine, moon.”

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Mohsena Tawfik passes away at age of 79 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/07/mohsena-tawfik-passes-away-at-age-of-79/ Tue, 07 May 2019 13:10:52 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697425 Egyptian veteran female artist, Mohsena Tawfik, passed away on Monday at the age of 79, leaving behind a legacy of drama shows, and millions of loving fans and loyal followers. Tawfik, known for her roles as a dedicated mother and the girl next door when she was at younger, captured peoples’ hearts from the very …

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Egyptian veteran female artist, Mohsena Tawfik, passed away on Monday at the age of 79, leaving behind a legacy of drama shows, and millions of loving fans and loyal followers.

Tawfik, known for her roles as a dedicated mother and the girl next door when she was at younger, captured peoples’ hearts from the very beginning of her journey in Youccef Chahine’s Iskendria Leh? (Why Alexandria?!)

Egypt’s Minister of Culture, Inas Abdel Dayem, expressed her sadness over Tawfik’s loss on Tuesday saying that the history of Arab innovative work lost one of its pillars who is known for her honest performances.

The National Council of Women mourned the prominent artist’s death, stating in a press release that Egypt lost one alluring artist who enriched the cinematic scene and the Egyptian drama shows.

Maya Morsy, president of the National Council of Women said in the press release that Tawfik’s journey will remain a permanent mark in the history of Egyptian drama.

Tawfik stole hearts with her extraordinary performance in Layaly El Helmeya (El Helmeya Nights), a pentalogy that documented Egypt’s political and economic changes from King Farouk’s era until the early 1990s.

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History of Mesaharaty https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/07/history-of-mesaharaty/ Tue, 07 May 2019 12:00:02 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697373 The Mesaharaty transformed from a mere person accompanied by a child to carry the lantern into a band of several people carrying tambourines and playing tunes chanting with each band.

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One of the most important personalities associated with the coming of the holy month of Ramadan is the character of the Mesaharaty, as we call it here in Egypt or the Mosaher and Abu Tabla as it is called in other Islamic and Arab countries.

The Mesaharaty is the person who awakens the Muslim sleepers on the night of Ramadan to eat the suhoor meal (last meal before fasting). The Mesaharaty usually carries a drum or a flute that he plays to wake people up before the dawn prayer and usually the call is accompanied by some religious phrases and adverbs. As time progressed and society developed technology and mobile phones, the profession became extinct and a mere folkloric tradition, having been strongly known in many Arab countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Libya, Syria, and the Gulf states. The origin of the story of the Mesaharaty extends to the era of the Prophet.

Bilal ibn Rabah was the first Mesaharaty in Islamic history to walk the streets and roads to awaken people.

The Prophet said, “Bilal calls in the night. Eat and drink until the son of Umm Maktoum comes,” and the son of Umm Maktoum is the one who is authorised to pray Fajr (dawn prayer), and since that time the Mesaharaty has become a distinguished profession during the month of Ramadan.

The first to awaken people was Anabsa or Antaba bin Ishaq, in 228 AH, where he used to walk from Fustat to the Mosque of Amr ibn al-Aas and awaken people in that area, with calls such as “O slaves of God, have Suhoor, for in Suhoor is a blessing.”

In the Abbasid period, the Mesaharaty sang verses of poetry called “Al Quma” throughout the nights of Ramadan. As for the beginning of the drum, it was in Egypt. The Mesaharaty roamed the streets of Cairo carrying a small drum and tapping a piece of leather or wood accompanied by a small child holding a lantern in his hand to illuminate the road, repeating the words “O fasting person, proclaim the oneness of the Everlasting [God]!” Then he would say, “May god blesses your nights [name].”

People in Arab countries, such as Yemen and Morocco, were knocking doors and people of the Sham walked around houses playing and singing Ramadan anthems.

In the Fatimid era, the profession began with the days of Al-Hakim bin-Amr Allah who ordered people to sleep early after Taraweeh prayers. The ruler’s soldiers passed by houses, knocking on doors to wake sleepers for Suhoor meals.

In the Mamluk era, this custom was almost completely extinct if it was not for Al-Zaher Baybars, who decided to continue it and appointed young clerks for the profession.

In the era of the Mamluks, Ibn Nukta, the Sheikh of the Mesaharaty sect, was the inventor of the art of Quma, which is a type of laud.

In the era of the Tulanian state, women entered the field. She would sit behind the Mashrabiya (wooden interlaced window) and sang with a loud voice to awaken people of the neighbourhood for Suhoor.

As for the wages of the Mesaharaty, it has changed over the ages. The old Mesaharaty used to take part of the Kherag and some crops and grains.

The reward is associated with the class to which he was a member of. The wage was often taken in grains, about a cup of grain such as corn or wheat, plus whatever Muslims would give out. 

Sometimes he did not get paid, and he waited until the first days of Eid and went home with his usual drum. People gave him money, gifts, and sweets.

In some parts of Egypt, the traditional image of the Mesaharaty is no longer the same. Youth and children would wear jeans and T-shirts beating a drum to awaken people in a bid to collect some extra money.

In some Arab countries, the work of the Mesaharaty has developed, and some of Sufi traditions entered into the profession. The Mesaharaty transformed from a mere person accompanied by a child to carry the lantern into a band of several people carrying tambourines and playing tunes chanting with each band.

Now, things have changed. With the development of communication and technology, the profession has come to an end. People do not sleep during Ramadan nights. If they do, the alarm clock and the mobile phone play the role of awakening them for Suhoor.

However, the Mesaharaty is still wandering around from time to time in Egypt and its streets, not only to wake the sleepers but to express joy for the coming of the month of Ramadan, celebrating one of the holy month’s manifestations and practicing its ancient rituals.

And we know about this profession in a number of Arab and Islamic countries. In the Maghreb, he is referred to as Nafar.

As for Yemen, the Mesaharaty begins to roam the alleys and the streets, repeating: “O fasting person, proclaim the oneness of the Everlasting [God]!” He knocks his drum with the usual rings two hours before the suhur. The children gather around him and chant the Ramadan songs as they walk with him in the neighbourhood, or as the people call them (the edge).

And in Lebanon

Mesaharaty is the “drummer” in Lebanese popular culture. Despite the change in lifestyle, he is still trying. Many residents of Beirut’s popular neighbourhoods and other cities still know the Mesaharaty who passes by wearing a mantle or white robes. Often, every region or neighbourhood has its own Mesaharaty, who would have inherited the profession from his ancestors.  In the past, the Lebanese Mesaharaty wore Beiruti robes and a red hat.

In the past few years, a new phenomenon has emerged in Lebanon to invite people to Suhoor. A car with loudspeakers on its roof would drive through the neighbourhoods and play Islamic anthems, stopping in some parts then continuing.

In Syria, according to their old customs, the Mesaharaty passes through with a large dish. People donate some of their Suhoor to the Mesaharaty. 

Muslims in Malaysia are still keen on the Mesaharaty in many villages and cities at the beginning of Ramadan, right through to the end. He roams neighbourhoods and houses to alert people to wake up to eat the Suhoor meal.

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Exhibition celebrates Audry Hepburn’s 90 Birthday https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/07/exhibition-celebrates-audry-hepburns-90-birthday/ Tue, 07 May 2019 10:30:43 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697367 Model, dancer, humanitarian icon was also known for empowering women, supporting their inner beauty

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Commemorating the life of the beauty icon Audry Hepburn, who believed that the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she has, or the way she combs her hair, but actually “is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.” A new exhibition opened its doors to people in Brussels to travel back in time and place to the era in which she was alive.

The exhibition, titled ‘Intimate Audrey,’ marks the 90th anniversary of the petite legend. Curated by her own son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, the exhibition opened its doors with dozens of personal and professional photographs, her most famous dresses, and the looks she is known to have appeared with.

In the hometown in which the actress was born, the exhibition also offers visitors some movie memorabilia, such as the scooter used in the 1953 classic “Roman Holiday” for which Hepburn won a best actress Oscar, according to Reuters.

Ferrer told Reuters that Hepburn “lived a humble life, a simple life, and maybe in there lies the key to why she is still so beloved today.”

Away from how people saw and knew Hepburn, the exhibition shows another life aspect of the prominent star. It exhibits her humanitarian writings, and her own fashion drawings.

Hepburn Ferrer told Reuters that one the key features of the exhibition was a replica cherry blossom tree, a tribute to the childhood home in Switzerland his parents bought in 1963 and remained Hepburn’s residence until her death.

“It is an unusual exhibition because it has been completely devoid of the Hollywood aspect of her career so it’s the woman who is coming home, naked of the legend, of the icon,” he said, according to Reuters.

Ferrer also added that he “wanted to offer a more personal perspective of the life of the British actress, who dedicated her later years to charity work and became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.”

The prominent star was born in Belguim to a Dutch mother and British father. The fashion icon later moved to London and stole people’s hearts when she appeared in Gigi, the American Broadway play.

Her start shined, remaining until today, for the roles in the films she starred in during the world’s golden era, including  “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, “Charade,” and “My Fair Lady”.

The model, dancer, and humanitarian icon was also known for empowering women and supporting their inner beauty.

She was quoted several times saying “I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.”

The peaceful star closed her eyes for the last time in 1993 aged 63.

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Watch It: Egyptian Netflix sparks controversy with start of TV drama in Ramadan https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/07/watch-it-egyptian-netflix-sparks-controversy-with-start-of-tv-drama-in-ramadan/ Tue, 07 May 2019 10:00:44 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697361 More than 99% surveyed by Daily News Egypt agreed they will not subscribe in the application, others believe it’s good for selling series

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For Middle Eastern societies, Ramadan is not only the month of fasting, worshiping, strengthening family ties and social solidarity when it comes to distributing food to those who are in need, but on a larger scale, Ramadan is also the month of entertainment and TV series. For ages, TV shows have been an inseparable part of the holy month; large numbers of productions wait for the season in order to compete over grabbing audiences’ attention. However, this year brings a different aspect when it comes to watching drama shows online, with the start of ‘Watch It.’

Watch It is a mobile application which offers audiences the possibility of watching 15 Ramadan series and a number of TV shows that will not be uploaded on YouTube. Egyptian Media, the country’s largest, most dominating media services agency, and Synergy production company which has taken over the scene of drama production shows announced that they will not broadcast any of their TV shows online except through Watch It.

The Egyptian Netflix is being offered to people with a monthly subscription of EGP 99, and for EGP 999 annually.

Unlike previous seasons, where producers aired their shows on YouTube right after their TV screening, making use of YouTube ads, and considering the number of watches as a success indication, only a few drama shows are uploaded this season with this option.

The announcement was met with an anger wave, and a large amount of criticism from users, who stated they will boycott those series.

More than 99% surveyed by Daily News Egypt agreed that that they will not subscribe in this application. With different reasons, the majority united over that they are not willing to pay for a platform in order for it to allow them to watch Egyptian drama.

TV shows are known to have long breaks that would sometimes reach up to 20 minutes each, throughout a 40 minute-long episode.

Heba Wagdi stated through a Facebook comment that she watches some of the drama shows at the end of day through YouTube, as it saves the wasted time of the ads, however, the content of the shows is not appealing enough for her to pay money for it.

“There are many TV series screened this season, we can watch any other replacement. At the end, I believe they all have no real value to watch,” she said.

Large numbers of people followed Wagdi’s path, stating that they are used to watching the shows, just as a free entertainment tool, however, they are not willing to pay money in order to watch them, as -according to them- “they mostly come empty of value, increased vulgarity, and rudeness of people with their scripts.”

While many believed that, others stated that they are willing to pay money in order to watch the shows, however, not the ones produced by both companies.

“If I am about to pay, it is better for me to subscribe in Netflix, which offers me a variety of real interesting content, including Arabic content,” a Facebook user said, while another questioned if the Egyptian market was deeply studied before this decision.

“Seriously did they even study the market; did they check how much Netflix costs?!” Dina Erfan questioned.

Magda Khalil, another Facebook user stated that she is willing to wait until Ramadan is over when all the series will be repeated in the same TV channels for free, with less advertisements.

From another point of view Wala Taha stated that the decision is “commercially wrong. These series are not exclusive, so why should I pay for it while I can simply watch it anywhere!”

On the other hand, those who accepted the idea, and showed their acceptance to pay, wondered about another aspect of the service. So, reports state that the application has been downloaded 10,000 times. However, users stated that it is not working properly.

Radwa Hesham expressed on social media that she thinks “it is fine if they are providing a good service with no ads. However, the internet service in Egypt is bad and apparently their application is not working, and this makes it for me a scam given the current situation.”

Following the same path is Sarah Abdul-Razik who stated that, “TV shows are the only thing Egyptians are good at, and this will be of good use to sell to other Arabs in the whole world. I just hope it is properly implemented.”

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Ramadan begins: history of moon sighting in Egypt https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/06/ramadan-begins-history-of-moon-sighting-in-egypt/ Mon, 06 May 2019 13:00:19 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697289 Muslims around the world celebrate on Monday the beginning of Ramadan. One of the most important religious events is the night of Roaya (moon sighting), and it marks the last night in the month of Sha’ban, and the beginning of Ramadan. Fasting Ramadan is linked to three moon sighting nights: the first is of Sha’ban, …

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Muslims around the world celebrate on Monday the beginning of Ramadan. One of the most important religious events is the night of Roaya (moon sighting), and it marks the last night in the month of Sha’ban, and the beginning of Ramadan.

Fasting Ramadan is linked to three moon sighting nights: the first is of Sha’ban, the second is of Ramadan, which is called the “day of doubt” because there is doubt concerning it – is it the last day of Sha’ban or the first day of Ramadan? Fasting on this day is haram, and the moon sighting of Shawwal which marks the beginning of Eid al-Fitr.    

Egypt is one of the countries which celebrates the moon sighting of Ramadan.

During the Fatimid Caliphate, prominent statesman under Caliph al-Mustansir, Badr al-Jamali, built a mosque at the foot of Mount Mokattam. Its minaret was an observatory to see the crescent. The ceremonial features were official traditions when the Caliph and his ministers went out on horseback passing through the streets, shops, and roads decorated from Gamaliya and Bab al-Fotouh and then returning from Bab El Nasr to Gamlaiya again. During the tour, they distribute gifts and charity to the poor, then the Caliph gifts princes and then begins to write to the governors and deputies to announce the coming of the holy month.

The Mamluk era was also keen on celebrating the moon sighting night. In this night, five judges would go out to sight the crescent holding lanterns and candles, while senior merchants and leaders of different professions gather by the lighthouse of Al-Mansour School. When it is confirmed, the judges announce the start of fasting and the attendees convey the message to the people. The tradition lasted until the Ottoman era.

Orientalist Edward William Lane said that the moon sighting night of Ramadan was one of the most beautiful religious events for Egyptians because they really love the month.

“In this night, the entourage and the sheikhs of the craftsmen, including millers, bakers, butchers, knights, food seller, bands of musicians and the public, marched in the direction of the castle where the judges confirm the new moon sighting, then great celebrations begin. They march the streets and fire cannons,” Lane wrote.

With the beginning of the 20th century under the reign of Sultan Abbas Hilmi, the celebration of moon sighting moved to the Islamic court in Bab El Khalk. The celebration begins with music, and cannons fire from the castle to light up the dark Cairo skies.

Egyptians still celebrate the event annually. During the celebration, several Al-Azhar scholars, representatives of the ministry of endowments, figures of Egypt, and ambassadors of the Muslim communities across the world residing in Egypt, convene to survey the beginning of Ramadan on 29 Sha’ban every Hijri (Islamic) year. The Grand Mufti of Egypt either confirms the start of Ramadan or not. The news is spread to Egyptians through radios and televisions.

Noteworthy, Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta performs this task of moon sighting after sundown of 29 Sha’ban. This is done through its legitimate and scientific committees spread throughout the country. They have been accredited for nearly 100 years at the Helwan Astronomical Observatory. The celebrations begin at Dar al-Ifta, which moved to the large conference hall in Al-Azhar.

In Lebanon, the Lebanese call the moon sighting night of Ramadan “Sibbana Ramadan”, where Muslims spread on the beaches to sight the crescent and then go to the Islamic court to testify.

In Morocco, Moroccans names the event “Shaabana”. This is because the moon sighting occurs in Sha’ban. If the new moon was seen, the Moroccans distribute sweets to children and worshipers in mosques.

In Algeria, people are rushing to paint their houses ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, the purchase of new kitchen utensils and blankets, the complete decontamination of homes, and the broadcasting of religious texts.

In Tunisia, people are keen to decorate streets and houses with lanterns.

In Turkey, they decorate the doors of houses with musk, amber, and rose water to express their happiness of the start of the holy month. They also hold a big celebration called “Mahaya” in the area of Sultan Ahmed.

In Indonesia, all students are given vacation in the first week of Ramadan. Men are keen on performing Taraweeh prayers (following Isha prayer) in mosques, and women also go to the mosques before the preparation of the first collective Suhoor (evening meal).

In Pakistan, they have a Ramadan habit called a “child’s zafa,” where a child who fasts for the first time is like a groom, and women begin to make the “bakoura”, a popular meal for the month of Ramadan.

In Malaysia, women embark on a phenomenon called “women’s tawaf”, where women travel around the house to recite Qur’an, announcing the start of fasting.

In Nigeria, Muslims roam streets of major cities, chanting religious songs for the holy month of Ramadan.

In Mauritania, barbers are crowded after declaring the beginning of Ramadan, recite Qur’an, and distribute sweets.

In Sudan, military parades march in major cities celebrating the start of the holy month.

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Old Kingdom cemetery of two pyramids builders found in Giza https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/05/old-kingdom-cemetery-of-two-pyramids-builders-found-in-giza/ Sun, 05 May 2019 12:00:17 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=697052 Discovery of pyramids’ builders cemetery reveal to whole world that pyramids were not built by slaves, but its builders had built their tombs beside their Kings, says Hawas

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The Minister of Antiquities Khaled El Anany announced on Saturday the discovery of an Old Kingdom cemetery belonging to two pyramid builders.

The discovery was revealed at the Giza Plateau with the attendance of Zahi Hawas, former minister of Antiquities.

The cemetery belongs to two builders: one named Behnui-Ka, whose name, according to a press release published by the ministry, was not previously found in the Giza plateau, and the second person is called Nwi.

Hawas proclaimed his happiness of witnessing such an event which he believes to be “the most important discovery made.”

“The discovery of the pyramids’ builders cemetery reveals to the whole world that the pyramids were not built by slaves but its builders had built their tombs beside their Kings,” Hawas stated.

The cemetery is located at the south-eastern side of the Giza Plateau.

Inscriptions on the cemetery walls name that first owner Behnui-Ka, with seven titles, “including the priest, the judge, the purifier of kings: Khafre, Userkaf, and Niuserre; the priest of goddess Maat, and the elder juridical in the court.”

Meanwhile the other tomb of Nwi had five titles among which is the chief of the great state; the overseer of the new settlements, and the purifier of King Khafre.

The discovery saw the light by an Egyptian mission headed by Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

For his side, Waziri explains that “the team uncovered several Old Kingdom tombs and burial shafts but the oldest one to be discovered is a limestone family tomb from the fifth dynasty which retains some of its inscriptions and scenes.”

El-Anany stated that this discovery is of high importance because it displays to the world Egypt’s soft power which is as important as their “scientific and archaeological value.”

A number of relics were found inside the tomb, including a “limestone statue of the tomb’s owner, his wife and son, as well as many wooden and clay funerary coloured masks.”

Director General of the Giza Plateau, Ashraf Mohi, said in the press release that that the cemetery was reused extensively during the Late Period. Many Late Period wooden painted and decorated anthropoid coffins were discovered on site. Some of them have a vertical line of Hieroglyphics inscriptions on them.

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