Home | Gallery | Travelogue | Write!
Album: By Country | By Date Egypt | April 2001 < Prev: City of the Dead | Next: Saqqarah >
Travelogue: By Country | By Date Egypt | April 2001  

April 2001 - Sufi Dancing

A boat ride and then the dervishes

McDonald's sign in Arabic and some of the styles worn by women in Egypt Maggie on our riverbus trip on the Nile.  We thought we would be unusual in taking a "joyride" on the riverbus - a form of public transportation that runs up and down the Nile.  In fact, we were surrounded by Egyptian couples.  This must be a popular "date" spot. On the riverbus with some of the people we met Sufi dancing show.
Sufi is (or was) a muslim mystic order emphasizing direct experience.  This search for spiritual ecstasy sometimes led to such practices as drug taking and wild acrobatics, activities that earned for some of the orders the names whirling, howling, and dancing dervishes. This fellow used finger cymbals.  During this part of the performance, individual musicians came forward to play and dance.  At first, I thought this fellow just looked silly, but as he danced and played, I realized that he was impressively graceful - entrancing.
A whirling dervish The dervishes wore things like skirts in layers which they untied and spun separately before handing them to someone else.