Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happy Mawlid Nabawi #2013 : The Mawlid Bride

Mawlid Bride by Zeinab Ali
Today January 24 ,2013/Rabi' Al Awwal 12,1434 , today we celebrate in the Islamic world the Mawlid El Nabawi aka Prophet Mohamed "PBUH" birthday. 
A short break from politics and back to the old and beautiful celebration of Egyptian history, I will speak about  the Mawlid bride and Mawlid Horse.
As a typical feast in Egypt , it is associated with food. In this blessed occasion we got the famous set of Mawlid candies and sweets that include sugar coated bars of nuts , Hums , pistachio , sesame and almond as well the famous Turkish delights. This set of sweets and candies are known in Egypt as "Halwat El Mawlid". I do not know if that set came with the Fatimids or the Ottomans but I feel it came with the Ottomans thanks to the Turkish delights.
Now the Mawlid bride and Mawlid Horse are much older in the Egyptian 
Historical the Mawlid bride as well Mawlid Horse entered Egypt with the Fatimids. Some historians say that the Mawlid bride originated from the Fatima doll the Shiite Fatimids brought to Egypt from North Africa to commemorate their love to Lady Fatima , the daughter of Prophet Mohamed "PBUH". Sooner the Fatima doll evolved to the Mawlid bride for girls and Mawlid Horse or Knight for boys. A sculptured sugar doll of a girl decorated with very vivid colors became the symbol of the Mawlid after centuries and centuries.
Some folklorists say that our Fatima lady figure was soon mixed with the figure of Virgin Mary in the Egyptian folkloric mindset and the proof was in the decoration of the Mawlid Bride , these circles in the back of the Mawlid were actually the halo around saints.
Amazingly other folklorists and historians say that the shape of the doll whether the bride or the knight goes back to the famous legend of Isis and Horus.

 Amazingly the shape of the Mawlid Horse or knight looks so similar to an ancient Egyptian sculpture Horus over a horse killing Set as a crocodile.

The Horus sculpture and legend was soon to be imported by the way to become Saint George and the dragon.
The current shape of the Mawlid horse or knight reminds more with the legends of Bani Helal and how the knights of Bani Helal were portrayed in our folklore.
The current shape "Internet"
Egyptians used to have this woman figure throughout this history starting from Isis then the Virgin Mary then Lady Fatima and her daughter lady Zeinab so I will not be surprised or shocked if this goes back to Isis.
 Nowadays we import the Mawlid Bride with foreign Western features from China. In the past two years China exported to us a veiled bride.
Veiled Bride from Al Masry Al Youm
Some Egyptian Patisseries import the dolls from China and change the design of its dress annually. Watch this video report from Al Shorouk News.

Unfortunately due to health reasons , there is a less demand on the traditional sugar coated Mawlid bride. I was amazed when I saw Mrs. Ghada Shahbender posting a tweet photo for a traditional sugar coated bride from couple of days ago. The traditional one is still alive.
Shahbender's Mawlid bride
Here is a pictorial report  from Al Masry Al Youm showing the steps to create that Pink Mawlid Bride.
By the way some Patisseries in Cairo began to renovate in the shape of the Mawlid bride. Here is a photo of Mawlid bride by Dukes Patisserie in Heliopolis. I really love how it looks.
Modern Mawlid bride
All Egyptian Children I believe as students had to draw that Mawlid bride in the drawing classes. Who did not draw it for God sake !!?
In 1955 there was a film with the name of "Mawlid Bride" starring Tahia Carioca  where she were a Mawlid bride that suddenly becomes alive and began to enjoy life.
Here the Reda Folklore dancing troupe presenting a dancing sketch called Mawlid bride in 1962

By the way do you know that the Mufti of Libya El Gheriany issued a fatwa to prohibit the celebration of that joyful event and yet the Libyans celebrate it yesterday in crazy way with amazing fireworks in major Libyan cities in defiance !! 
Happy blessed Mawlid.
I had to write this post to have a short break from the upcoming 72 hours. God knows the amount of stress we are all having in Cairo from anticipation.


  1. That sounds like a really fun tradition! Thanks for the post.

  2. Thank you so much for this wonderful and interesting post. May you have a blessed Mawlid Nabawy. I was just wondering if while you were doing your through search have you come across any folkloric tales explaining the origin of the mawlid bride as a symbol of honoring the girls who used to be buried alive before Islam came and banned this shameful habit, in other words honoring women in Islam?


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