Moulid (spoken Arabic meaning "birth") refers to a public religious festival celebrating the life and legacy of a holy person. The film vividly captures the festive and religious mood of the very 700-year old moulid of the 13th century Muslim Wali, Sayyid Ahmad Al-Badawy, held annually in Tanta, Egypt during cotton harvest.
Using "layering" as a method, this visual ethnography analyzes the moulid's structure and symbolism, revealing various levels of religious experience - scriptural, mystical, ritual, mythical, interacting with secular traditional life. It culminates in a dramatic procession following the Friday public prayer led by the khalifa (Badawy's current successor) on horseback, followed by drummers on camels, a Sufi parade, workers representing medieval vocational guilds, and finally circumcised boys in horse carriages. A transmission of vigorous masculinity and potent spirituality is symbolized as a journey from boyhood to manhood embedded in a regenerative cycle from life to death to rebirth. Filmmaker: Fadwa El Guindi
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