Never reissued before, The Moulids of Egypt is a unique study of the popular Muslim and Christian festivals of Egypt and a modern classic of Egyptology
This book is a study of moulids, the popular Egyptian religious festivals (Muslim and Christian) as they were in the first half of the 20th century. Moulids also had a secular side, where sports, games, theatres, shadow- plays, beer booths, sweet stalls, eating houses, dancing, and laughter, were as much part of the festival as the religious processions and the whirling of dervishes. Nor were the festivals exclusive to one religion or the other— Muslims and Christians happily attended each other’s moulids.
Some of the rites and customs date from as far back as the Pharaonic period, but the moulids are gradually dying out. Many of the 126 festivals described here have since faded away, making the book of lasting interest.
Published in Cairo at the height of the Second World War, Bimbâshî McPherson’s The Moulids of Egypt is a fascinating and highly original contribution to the study of the country’s religious folklore and practice.
J. W. McPherson lived in Egypt for 45 years, working as a teacher before the First World War, then serving with the Red Cross at Gallipoli, as a soldier with the Egyptian Camel Transport in Sinai and Palestine, as an Intelligence Officer in Cairo, and until his retirement in 1924 as Ma’mûr Zapt, the Director of the political Criminal Investigation Department for investigating political activists and secret societies. In retirement, he researched the religious festivals called moulids and wrote this book.
Russell McGuirk was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy and Johns Hopkins University, where he studied Modern Languages, including Arabic. He went on to specialize in Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. The Moulids of Egypt is his fourth book as a specialist in Arabic and in early 20th century Egyptian history.