Id al-Fitr celebration - Mar. 1961

    For those not familiar with Islam, Ramadan is a very significant time in this religion.  It is the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar.  This is the month of fasting for the devout.  In 1961 (Islamic 1380 AH) Ramadan occurred during the end of February and the first part of March.  Id al-Fitr is the festival of the breaking of the fast, beginning on the first day of the following month, Shawwal.  Now, thanks to the Internet, the date of the "Id" in 1961 can easily be calculated.  It was March 19th.

    Having never experienced this time of religious celebration before, we all knew it was a special but we did not know specifically what to expect.  It was a holiday for us too, and a few of us went out for a drive.  The following photos were taken on that memorable day.  Unfortunately these 35 mm slides suffered some of the greatest deterioration and degradation of clarity during their years of storage.

We could sense the festive spirit & followed in the direction these young men were going (including the one carrying a spare bike). We had no idea what would lie ahead.

We came upon a large group who insisted we come right in to the center of a large circle.  Here they were heating drum skins to tighten them.

We were a bit nervous at first when we realized that most of the men were carrying swords, long sticks or whips. The veiled women stayed in the buses & trucks.

With the drums beating, the dancing & waving of swords began. Again, the veiled women can be seen watching on the truck in the background.

We had mixed emotions wanting on one hand to capture this event on film, but also not wanting to photograph inappropriately. We had no desire to anger any of the swordsmen.

We finally relaxed when these friendly celebrants clearly encouraged us to take as many pictures as we wanted.

We felt honored to be a small part of this celebration but then found that even larger crowds were arriving.

More fires were prepared to ready the many arriving drums. 

This event was obviously becoming more formal and official with the added presence of uniformed personnel.

The celebration that we had witnessed earlier we now saw as a warm-up to a bigger "main event."

Here was a more formally dressed group with their magnificent gold trimmed swords.

Drums can be seen here held high over head as the festivities continued. What an honor to be present! Sadly, this was the end of this roll of film.

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