Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Siwa Oasis - Part 9 : The Annual Celebration

This is the Ninth in a beautiful series of articles written by my friend Gabi Philips who has spent an extended period of time in Siwa.

Also Read
Part 1 : Transportation
Part 2 : Where to Stay
Part 3 : Where to Stay (contd)
Part 4 : Shali
Part 5 : Places to Visit
Part 6 : Aghourmy : The Oracle & the Broken Rock
Part 7 : Cleopatra Spring, the mountains & Fatanas island
Part 8 : The House of Siwa

Konwn as "3eed el-sol7" (peace making celebration), the celebration is held at Gebel El-Dakroury over 3 days at the full moon (or around) in October, after the harvest season of dates and olives.

I asked an OLD Siwan man about the festival and asked why they celebrate it. As his mother tongue is the Siwan language, I felt he was struggling to tell me the story in a foreign language (Arabic). He was trying hard to find the right words and here is the story as he narrated it to me:

Many years ago, there were huge problems (between Eastern & Western Siwans as I understood) and there was a good man who was trying to solve the problems. It took him three days to make peace among all the Siwans. To celebrate the peace they searched for a place where all could gather eat and celebrate together (eating together is a sign of peace) and they chose Gebel El-Dakroury.

He also told me about the preparations nowadays. People start to collect the food (ro2a2/kind of bread) across 17-18 mosques in the town, then food is distributed at Gebel El-Dakroury. The Implication is that it is not known who the person who offered the food that was eaten/finished. (It looked to me that if someone's food is eaten/finished, this means something good).

The kids were wearing nice colorful clothing, playing some games like those at normal "Mulid". Lots of street vendors including some from Matrouh who come over in the hopes of making some profit.

This celebration as much as I understood from that old man and from Dr. Ahmed Fakhrey's book is a unique Siwan event.

To my surprise when a journalist questioned one of people at the celebration who looked like a leader, he said the festival originated in Libya.

Personally, I believe the journalist had some wrong info from wrong sources and she was trying to put words in his mouth.

The Leaders' name is Sheikh/Ahmed Beshir el-Madani, the Sheikh of the Madaneya Shazeleya Tarika (way). He is the decendant of the founder of the Tarika Sheikh elMadany (Sheikh/Mohammed Hasan Hamza Ghafer Elmadani). He stated that this is a religious event (not a local event), "we are here and we're from Libia" and called "3eed elseya7a"(tourism celebration)

Seyaha/tourism in this context has the meaning of spiritual religious thing (related to walking very long distances that may reach hundreds of kilometers). They sing some religious songs. One of them is a poem telling the story of his great grandfather (Sheikh elMadany).

While he was telling this to the journalist I interrupted him twice to drop a hint because what he was saying contradicted with what I read before. After the second time he commented on what I mentioned by saying "you know a lot". I was sure now that the information I had was right and left the journalist so she could feel happy that she was "controlling the situation" and that she would have an "interesting" article.

You can read a books and if you attend the event yourself.

Enjoy the photos of the celebration on the following link:


قصيدة said...

I just discovered
I like the background picture

Kim said...

Thank you

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