Egyptian Halloween celebrations have no religious or cultural roots. Instead, Egyptians celebrate Halloween just to get a kick out of it. Dancing and partying, however are not new for Egyptians. Ever since the pharaohs, the Egyptians have enjoyed all kinds of carnivals and celebrations. In ancient Egypt, many of the celebrations took place in honor of the gods and the major deities, the warriors, celebrating harvest season or flooding of the Nile. New Year’s Day (or Wep-renpet) corresponded with the annual flood of the river Nile. It occurred in mid-July and involved many religious rites and copious amounts of beer. The Beautiful Feast of the Valley celebration took place in Thebes (a prominent city in ancient Upper Egypt, now a part of the modern city Luxor) and allowed the living to connect with their loved ones in the afterworld. Halloween much? This could be the closest thing the Egyptians have ever had to honoring the dead within a religious celebration.
Now the Egyptians revive few of their ancestors’ festivities, due to strict religious dismissal of celebrating pagan holidays. Conservatism had little to do with the Egyptians love for dance and partying. Even with a huge social gap, the Egyptians still take part in various carnivals and festivals, with a current wave of promoting dance and giving way to “street dance performances.”
Halloween in Egypt doesn’t involve trick or treating or any religious signs. It is just a fun outlet for people to wear costumes, dance and consume booze. Mostly Halloween was celebrated in foreign schools or in private homes of the Egyptian elite, this year however,
Centre Rézodanse in Alexandria -Egypt’s second most important city- hosted a Halloween party for all fun-loving Egyptians who are in for a spooky yet amusing night.
Centre Rézodanse is a dance school and cultural center dedicated to the enhancement and the promotion of dance and the performing arts in Alexandria and Egypt. With various dance classes, yoga sessions and children’s ballet training, Rézodanse has emerged on the Egyptian arts scene as a solid entity providing a cozy environment for art lovers and aspiring dancers.
Rézodanse has planned a series of parties where members of the Alexandrian community could gather and enjoy a house party within a club atmosphere.
Speaking with Lucien Arino, artistic director of the center, he confessed that Halloween sounded like the perfect occasion to have a party because all the ingredients were there: costumes, creepy atmosphere, special dedicated tracks and tasty finger foods. Attendees of the party were asked to pay for their tickets (LE 15 on pre-sale or LE 20 at the door) to contribute for the center’s costs.
The party, according to the attendees was a blast. Being a dance school, the center proved convenient for many of the people who didn’t have time to wear their costumes at home or those who sparked in-party ideas for masquerading. There were plenty of changing rooms and large mirrors, as well as a face-painting, makeup expert who helped people impersonate their favorite heroes and villains. Among the notable Halloween costumes were the Joker, zombies, Harvey Dent and Dracula.
The party came to live with a mini flash mob performed by members of Rézodanse’s Ragga Jam class, on the theme of Thriller by Michael Jackson. The flash mob was organized by Aysh’Ha, Ragga instructor and M.C. for the party. Soft and hard drinks were served in an atmosphere of freedom where both drinkers and non-drinkers got to enjoy their party experience to the max.
Due to the curfew ending at 1 AM, the 150+ attendees were all out by midnight. They got to express their joy and gratitude on the center’s Facebook page by posting pictures of their costumes and thanking the organizers of the party.
Centre Rézodanse plans on arranging a Christmas party, a Mardi Gras-like carnival and a spring party on the occasion of Nassim el Raqs (Spring of Dance) contemporary dance festival in May 2014.
Written by: Jaylan Salah