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Hajj season in Egypt
In Egyptian folk culture, the house of pilgrims were traditionally decorated with wall paintings and graffiti depicting Hajj themes
Published in Ahram Online on 03 - 10 - 2014


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The Hajjpilgrimage to Mecca is an important obligation for Muslims. Pilgrimage is considered to be one of the five pillars of Islam (along with the testimony that God is one and Mohammad is his messenger, five prayers a day, fasting in Ramadan, and paying annual alms orzakah). According to the Quran, every Muslim who is able to travel to Mecca should try to perform the Hajj at least once in his life.
The pilgrimage occurs every year on 8-12 Dhu Al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.
Pilgrims and Muslims worldwide celebrate the festival of Eid Al-Adha, meaning the festival of the slaughter, during the Hajj period. The three day festival falls on 10-13 Dhu Al-Hijjah, and will be celebrated this year in Egypt from 4-6 October.
The festival commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishamel) when commanded to do so by God. Muslims believe that God intervened at the last minute, providing a sheep for Ibrahim to sacrifice instead.
Muslims around the world mark the celebration by slaughtering sheep and other. Believers are required to provide portions of the meat to the poor.
In Egypt, those who have performed Hajj are considered to have made a great achievement. In folk culture, the house of pilgrims were traditionally decorated withwall paintings and graffiti depicting Hajj themes such as Ibrahim's sacrifice, as a mark of pride showing the owner's status as a pilgrim. The paintings, created by local artists, often break social and artistic conventions.
Egyptian folk songs also deal with the Hajj, with some focusing on thestory of Ismail and Ibrahimand others telling the story of thekeswa, the cover for the holy shrine in Mecca known as the Kaaba. The keswa used to be made in Egypt and transported all the way from Cairo to Mecca by camel, in a lavish parade.
Ahram Online wishes all its readers a Happy Eid.
http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/112287.aspx


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