Woman Giving Food During Maulidi Festival, Lamu, Kenya
The festival of Maulidi takes place every year in Muslim-majority countries during the whole third month of the Arabic calendar, alleged date when Prophet Mohammed was born. In Lamu, Kenya, a small town on the eponymous island, 99% of the population is Muslim. And this particular celebration is important. It brings together thousands of worshipers from Kenya as well as from other parts of East Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the world.
The introduction of Tariqa (a school of Sufism) by Ali Habib Swaleh, a Comoran Shariff is the reason why Lamu became an important religion center on the XIXth Century…and still attracts many people from the Comoro Islands. Maulidi climaxes during the two last days, when the Mawlid (religious poetry) are being recited incessantly while the men and young boys parade from Swaleh’s grave to the island’s main Mosque Riyadha in a colorful procession.
Maulidi is famous for its boat races taking place close to the seashore and donkey races in the streets, which put the city in a fever of excitement during a few weeks. There is also this strange dance with a stick called Goma: White djellaba-dressed men standing in a row sway a walking stick in front of them, to the hypnotic rhythm of drums.
© Eric Lafforgue