Moulid Abu el-Haggag: In Honor of a Patron Sheik
Moulid Abu el-Haggag is an annual festival hosted in Luxor in honor of Yousef el-Haggag the Patron Sheik of the city. To most people outside the Islamic worldview, the word moulid is synonymous with the celebration of the birth of the Prophet of Islam in a religious event known as Moulid Al Nabawy, Mawlid en-Nabi, Eid el-Maulud. Indeed moulid is an Arabic word denoting birth and in Egypt, there are moulids celebration in honor of several revered people.
Luxor has been described as the biggest open air museum in the world, owing to its glorious past as Thebes, and the concentration of ancient temples and tombs. It is no wonder then that one of the city’s biggest festivals has its roots in an ancient fertility festival called Opet.
The gods and a Patron Sheik of Luxor…
Born in Damascus, el-Haggag was a 12th century Islamic cleric who settled in Luxor after spending some time in Mecca. His remains lies in the oldest mosque in Luxor which is named after him.
Celebrated in the Islamic month of Shaaban, two weeks before the start of Ramadan, Moulid of Abu el-Haggag is a colorful affair with parades and floats reminiscent of its ancient primogenitor. In the ancient times when Luxor was known as Thebes, the Egyptian gods, Amun-Ra, Mut and Khonsu were carried in barges from Karnak Temple to Luxor Temple at the annual the Opet which took place during the season of the flooding of the Nile. The barges were initially ferried along the canal linking the two temples, but after the canal silted up, they were carried along the Avenue of Sphinxes.
During the Moulid of Abu el-Haggag, a reenactment of the journey is simulated in the parades through the city with floats made in the shapes of boats to represent the ancient barges. However, excited adults and children ride in the boat-floats instead of the image of a god, to booming traditional music and loud cheers.
Colorfully draped camels in the finest riggings are part of the parade, while other interesting attractions of the Moulid of Abu el-Haggag include, horse racing and tahteeb, a folkloric cane dance which is based on an ancient Egyptian martial art.
Moulid of Abu el-Haggag is an important festival in Luxor and it attracts public figures and thousands of spectators each year from neighboring towns and cities. The festival is based on the Islamic calendar and takes place two weeks before Ramadan starts.
Wow!! What a dedication to celebration, what do you think? Drop your comment(s) and let us know.