Events In Siwa Oasis
Gebel Dakrur is the scene of the annual Siyaha festival. For three days around the October full moon, thousands of Siwans gather to celebrate the date harvest, renewing friendships and settling any quarrels that might have broken out over the previous year.
All Siwans, no matter what their financial or social standing, eat together at a huge feast after the noon prayer each day during the festival. The festival is intertwined with Sufism, and each evening, hundreds of men form a circle and join together in a zikr, a long session of dancing, swaying and singing repetitive songs in praise of God.
Siwan women do not attend the festivities, although girls up to about the age of 12 are present until sunset. Each year hundreds of non-Siwans – Egyptians and foreigners – attend the festival. Note that the festival was canceled in 2011, ostensibly for security reasons following the revolution, so confirm that it’ll actually be happening if you’re hoping to go.
Once a year, just after the corn harvest in late summer, the small tomb shrine of Sidi Suleiman, behind the King Fuad Mosque in the center of Siwa Town, is the scene of a moulid (saints’ festival), known in Siwi as the Moulid at-Tagmigra.
Banners announce the moulid, and zikrs are Performed outside the tomb. Occasionally on Thursday nights, after the evening prayer, local Sufis of the Arusya order gather near the tomb shrine for a zikr and they don’t mind the odd foreigner watching.