It’s worth visiting Medinet Fayoum simply for its festivals, as many local farmers do. Hotels overflow during Ali er-Rubi’s moulid in the middle of Sha’ban (the eighth month in the Muslim calendar), when the alleys around his mosque are crammed with stalls selling sugar dolls and horsemen, and all kinds of amusements can be tried, while the devout perform zikrs in the courtyard. The other big occasion is the “viewing” (er-ruyeh) of the new moon that heralds Ramadan, celebrated by a parade of carnival floats representing different professions, whose riders bombard spectators with “lucky” prayer leaflets.

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