Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Mawlid-an Nabi and Christmas-Together for the first time since 1852!

Egyptians stand to take pictures with Christmas and El-Moulid lights in the shape of a tree with bride on top in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Dec 24, 2015 (Photo: Hannah Porter)

The photo and caption above and the text below from Ahram English capture the spirit of the coincidence this year of El-Moulid, or Mawlid an-Nabi, the birthday of the Prophet Mohamed, and Mawlid an-Nabi, the birthday of Jesus for Christians, including those Christians in the Arab world who follow the Roman rite (including some "Eastern" churches). This is the first time that the Islamic lunar calendar has coincided for this festival on the same day as the Gregorian solar calendar since 1852.

Dec. 24
This year's celebration of the Prophet Muhammad's birthday precedes Christmas by two days.

The humble Christmas tree has a rich history, from evergreen trees used to symbolise eternal life in Ancient Egypt to tree worship among pagan Europeans. The modern version has its origins in Germany, where the song "O Tannenbaum" is still a festive favourite.
Moulid dolls are part of the secular aspects of Mulids (Carnivals of Faith) in Egypt. Dating back to ancient Egypt, such celebrations were revived in Egypt during the Fatimid Era with special emphasis on Prophet Mohammed and his descendants. Moulid candy dolls are one of the most popular ornaments of the festivity.

While scholar, H. A. Hellyer, sees the occasion as one for reflection on the beginning of the Arab Spring 5 years ago January 25, and on the traumas since, I think it is rather a time for reflection on the similarities betweeb the two religions, and the better spirits of joy, acceptance, mercy, and peace that are heralded by the births of their prophets.

Celebrating Mawlid an-Nabi, in Karachi, Pakistan.(Foto EPA/FAROOQ KHAN)

The two images, above and below, of celebrants of Mawlid an-Nabi in Karachi, Pakistan are part of a series of 6 in the Italian newspaper La Stampa, as part of an article on the confluence of the two prophets' birthdays, La nascita di Gesù e Maometto nello stesso giorno: non succedeva da 457 anni.

Are you celebrating one or the other?, Both (culturally)?
Any other comments, thoughts, impressions?
*Thanks to the Anonymous commentator for the correction. :)

Celebrating Mawlid an-Nabi, in Karachi, Pakistan.(Foto EPA/FAROOQ KHAN)


Anonymous said...

Karachi is in Pakistan

Chiara said...

True. Thank you very much, Anonymous. It seemed odd to me even as I recopied "India" from the original. I will correct it on the blog post ASAP.


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