Away from the mainstream Egyptian cultural, religious, and national celebrations, at the far west of the country, lies one of the most conservative societies in Siwa Oasis, where the citizens celebrate their reconciliation festival.
Last week, Siwa’s citizens gathered in “Eid El-Solh” (the reconciliation festival), a cultural festival in which the whole community attends to announce the start of a new year with nothing but peace and serenity amongst people.
Every year, the three lunar nights of October witness the gathering of the whole Oasis’s citizens to revive the promise of keeping the peace and maintaining safety and love among people.
Siwa’s men gather for three days, on top of Gebel Dakrour (Dakrour Mountain), one of the highest mountains in the area, where they spend their days away from home, praying, singing Islamic enchantments, strengthening ties, and resolving issues among the adversaries.
By the fourth day, they gather at a giant table filled with the traditional dish of ‘Fata’ that the whole families have cooked together, before they march towards one of the biggest mosques in Siwa, for the Imam to announce the conclusion of the ceremonies. Fata consists of rice, bread, and meat, three components that are available in every home. The families support either by food or money for the giant table to take place.
The annual celebration has been taking place for hundreds of years. It goes back to the time the eastern and western dwellers of the oasis were at war until the war ended with the help of a Sufi Sheikh named Muhammad Al-Madani who decided to end the dispute through gathering the elders of all the tribes and making them all eat from each other’s food.
Since then, the celebration has been taking place every year.
All photos were taken through the lens of Fadel Dawood