Al-Hussein’s annual moulid is one of Cairo’s greatest festivals – a fortnight of religious devotion and popular revelry climaxing on the leyla kebira or “big night”, the last Wednesday in the Muslim month of Rabi al-Tani. Here the Sufi brotherhoods parade with their banners and drums, and music blares all night, with vast crowds of Cairenes and fellaheen from the Delta (each of whose villages has its own café and dosshouse in the neighbourhood). Midan al-Hussein is also a focal point during the festivals of Moulid al-Nabi, Eid al-Adha, Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.

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