Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Kodak Agfa Presents : A 2022 Shubra Christmas in Photos

Kodak Agfa is back to Cairo’s Shubra to check on the Christmas spirit and let me tell you one thing for sure: Christmas spirit is still there but it is trying to survive the economic crisis.

Shubra's Christmas tree in Egypt's Cairo
The big Christmas tree and lights are on full power at one street only 

Compared to last year's Christmas, the difference is evident to anyone.

Christmas lights in Cairo's Shubra
Very few Christmas lights are seen on the street 

Less Christmas lights on the street unlike before.

Christmas lights in Cairo's Shubra
That street had more lights than other streets 

Not to mention that there is an invasion of second-hand and old imported clothes shops and street vendors in the main streets of the buzzing district.

Maybe there will be more lights and decorations as we drew closer to 7th January.

Christmas lights in Cairo's Shubra
Those light arcs seem to be the fashion this year 

In case you do not know, Cairo’s Shubra has reportedly the largest concertation of Christian Egyptians in the capital. The majority of Christian Egyptians in Cairo follow the Coptic Orthodox Church which celebrates Christmas on the 7th of January.

Shubra has its share of other Christian sects too.

By the way, I was told by someone, who is Christian by the way to visit Shubra during Ramadan because it is Something else.

He also told me that Christmas in Shubra was truly different in any other part of Egypt. It is also true.

A Christmas market in Shubra's Cairo
San Ibram bookstore was technically on lights for Christmas 

This Christmas market is more authentic in its soul than any of the other Christmas bazaars held in Sheikh Zayed and New Cairo’s malls and gated compounds that copy those “Christmas markets and villages” seen in Hallmark’s silly films and sell them to Egyptian customers.

Christmas decorations for sale in Egypt's Cairo
Customers buying Christmas decorations at San Ibram in Shubra 

By the way, I do not hate those malls’ Christmas markets and decorations. On the contrary, I love their decorations and I took photos for them this year because they bring happiness.

But in Shubra, we are speaking about Egypt’s true working class and middle class. I felt that last year when I went and discovered that market for the first time.

Christmas decorations for sale in Egypt's Cairo
Selling a Christmas mug to a customer in Shubra 

It is like the lanterns and Ramadan market in Cairo’s El-Sayeda Zeinab.

I can’t describe it in words but somehow this is the true spirit of Egyptians.

Christmas decorations for sale in Egypt's Cairo
Inside San Ibram's makeshift Christmas stand 

Yet this year, the economic grinch overshadowed Christmas by all measures.

Another piece of evidence of the severity of the economic crisis that hit the country was the fact that the famous San Ibram store made one Christmas tree only instead of three.

Shubra's Christmas tree in Egypt's Cairo
This year's big Christmas tree 

This tree is also a present from MP Ehab El-Tamawy, a leading member of the Mostaqbal Watan Party "Nation's Future Party" like last year. Already the owner of San Ibram bookstore who design those trees Amir Ghattas is actually a leading member of the party in Shubra. 

Shubra's Christmas tree in Egypt's Cairo
The tree is a present from MP Ehab El-Tamawy and Mostaqbal Watan Party 

There are fewer items for sale than last year inside the makeshift Christmas stand/bazaar/market whatever you like to describe it. 

Revising the photos of last year, I found out already some of the Christmas decoration supplies sold this year were already on sale last year.

Christmas decorations for sale in Egypt's Cairo
Some of the Christmas decorations supplies, trees and wreaths as well for sale 

For instance, there are fewer nativity scenes for sale than last year.

Christmas decorations for sale in Egypt's Cairo
Fewer nativity scenes for sale this year compared to last year

I am not surprised because the import crisis hit Egypt importers in a way that did not happen.

On Sunday, the Egyptian government’s spokesperson Nader Saad said that there is currently USD 9.5 billion worth of goods stuck at the Egyptian ports.

He added that USD 5 billion worth of goods were released. Since September, the government has been saying that it would solve the crisis caused by the Letter of credit system the Central Bank of Egypt applied in March as a result of the economic crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Now we are in December

The government is trying to solve that problem and release the goods from the ports before the Holy month of Ramadan.

It is a whole disaster and I feel that I left the Christmas market in Shubra to speak about Egypt’s economic woes when I intended to make this post as a break!!

Back to the San Ibram store and its makeshift Christmas market with its big Christmas tree.

Shubra's Christmas tree and lights
The big Christmas tree was an attraction on the street

The big Christmas tree is an attraction for children and adults as well as Muslims and Christians alike to take photos outside it and inside it.

Shubra's Christmas tree in Egypt's Cairo
People went to snap photos of the tree from everywhere in Shubra 

Yes, inside it because that tree has that tunnel with lights that allow people to take photos inside it.

Taking a photo inside Shubra's Christmas in Egypt's Cairo
It attracted moms and kids, whether Muslims or Christians 

It is beautiful and calming to see people feel happy in those hard economic times for real.

Taking a photo inside Shubra's Christmas in Egypt's Cairo
And teenagers too could not miss it 

I think those who are angry as usual of Mohamed Salah’s annual Christmas family photo, will be shocked when they see the number of veiled girls and women snapping photos and selfies of themselves and their friends as well as their kids in front of that tree.

Taking photo outside Shubra's Christmas tree in Egypt's Cairo
They were waiting for their turn 

There are also fewer makeshift Christmas markets in Shubra than last year.

In the same street, I saw another makeshift Christmas stand and I think that it follows the San Ibram store just like last year and that’s it.

Anyhow, Merry Christmas again from Egypt to the rest of the world.

Wait for the video from Shubra “and maybe other places inshallah”

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