AfricaKenyaLamu

Maulidi Festivities

Lamu Travel Blog

 › entry 27 of 81 › view all entries
Spectators
 

Days of festivities had already begun - to celebrate Maulidi, the prophet Mohammed's upcoming birthday. It was the busiest time of year for the island and the narrow corridors of Lamu Town crowded with Muslims from all over the continent, the Middle East, and the world. From the hill-top water tank, Scott and I scanned the Indian Ocean and Lamu Town for awhile then followed the pounding of African drums to the mosque area.

 

Spectators crowded one roped-off arena where two turban-clad men swayed in staggering circles. They wielded silver swords in mock battle, lunging and jabbing at each other until one eventually admitted defeat. Those older fighters seemed more skilled and daring with swords swishing  just millimeters from their opponents head or torso.

Talking strategy
They gripped the weapon in one hand and either a balled up cloth or a sandal in the other; for defense, or perhaps to stop any possible bleeding.  In the side-lines, a dozen men in white stood before the biggest drum, swaying side-to-side and chanting while waiting their turn.

 

In a small courtyard behind the mosque, a cow was being butchered. Another laid on its side with its feet tied together watching the slaughter through eyes bulged in horror, probably knowing that it was next. The animal pounded its head against the ground while licking the tail of its dead mate. Together, they would provide a Maulidi feast.

 

At another event near the mango- and coconut-farmer's stalls, men danced in a wide circle.

Drums
Cloth sacks of seeds or stones tied around their legs from ankle to knee shuffled harmony to African drums and their own chanting. The eldest among them oddly laughed hysterically. I leaned into the crowd of onlookers and asked two young ladies "Why is this man laughing?", but received no verbal response but blushing grins. There was no one around who spoke English to clue us in on what was taking place but it really didn't matter - Scott and I were fascinated just to be there witnessing some of the ritualistic ceremonies and festivities.

 

A man dressed in white Arab robes, a red and white checkered headdress, and blue Nike tennis shoes approached us. A younger, shaven Yasser Arafat came to mind. Scott and I stared into familiar-looking eyes for several uneasy moments before the man blurted out, "How's it goin'?" It was Mark, an American we had met on the south coast. Walking down the hill along rough coral walls, we sensed how Gedi, Malindi, and Mombasa must have looked hundreds of years ago when they were booming trade towns. As we entered Harambee Street, seeking samosas and Pepsis at the New Star Café, two Arabs greeted Mark with a solemn "Salaam…"

 

 

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Spectators
Spectators
Talking strategy
Talking strategy
Drums
Drums
All dressed up for Maulidi
All dressed up for Maulidi
Watching the activities
Watching the activities
Scott at the New Star
Scott at the New Star
Lamu
photo by: AgniAgni