Eid al-Fitr @ al-Azhar Mosque
Eid Said to all!
I'm a bit late, I know, but I couldn't find time to edit this panoramic photo yesterday during the actual Eid celebrations.
Kiran's out of town and Sofi and I wanted to go somewhere big for our first Egyptian Eid, so we decided on the ancient and historic al-Azhar Mosque in Islamic Cairo. It was a good choice, I thought, because massive amounts of people showed up to pray on a beautiful Friday morning. I got a couple cool shots of families wandering the giant courtyard and some good photos / videos of inside the mosque as well.
We weren't sure when the prayer would start. Friends and taxi drivers told me times ranging anywhere from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., and it didn't help that Egypt was pushing its clocks forward an hour now that Ramadan had ended but we had no idea when the clocks were changed... so we were pretty much in the blue whether we'd even get to pray Eid prayer at all!
Eid in Egypt also fell on the kickoff of the NFL season... and my Saints kept Brett Favre and the Vikings to just 9 points. What a great Eid present :)
After watching the game on my laptop (as "Ahmad Mickey" at the Sports Cafe in Mohandeseen couldn't find the game on their TVs) from Channel Surfing -- which got its feed from ESPN America -- Sofi and I quickly grabbed a taxi at around 5:30 in the morning (getting one was easier than I thought) and Sofi and I headed over to Al-Azhar.
The streets weren't completely dead, to my surprise. There were people randomly walking around instead of heading to mosques. Egypt is a strange Muslim country... I really don't know what to make of it. The people are great, but shops are open during the day during Ramadan and it seemed like less people were fasting as Ramadan continued. It's the only Muslim country I've ever been to, but it's not what I've come to expect at all... but I still love it here!
After Eid prayer, we wandered around Khan al-Khalili a bit, even went to visit the al-Hussein Mosque across the street as it's one of the holiest spots in Cairo. I'll have a few pictures up from there a bit later... because I have a few words I want to say on that matter. But until then, enjoy this panorama that I manually stitched together in Photoshop CS5 from eight frames. It was really hard matching the people in the crowd... really hard, haha. Hope all your Eid celebrations were good and that they continue throughout the weekend.