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ZarSpirit Possession, Music, and Healing Rituals in Egypt$
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Hager El Hadidi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166976

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166976.001.0001

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From Abyssinia to Cairo: The Zar Ritual Complex

From Abyssinia to Cairo: The Zar Ritual Complex

Chapter:
(p.35) 2 From Abyssinia to Cairo: The Zar Ritual Complex
Source:
Zar
Author(s):

Hager El Hadidi

Publisher:
American University in Cairo Press
DOI:10.5743/cairo/9789774166976.003.0002

This chapter traces the history and origins of zar in order to elucidate how it migrated with Abyssinian slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to Egypt. It lays the basis for understanding zar spirit possession as practiced in Cairo from the nineteenth century until today. Following a short overview of the history and origin of zar in the Red Sea region and the reasoning behind thinking about zar in Egypt as a transnational phenomenon, the chapter discusses zar practices in Cairo based on the author's fieldwork. It also considers the relationship between zar and Islam, the zar ritual placation process, spirit afflictions and their symptoms, and the role of gender and class in zar participation. Finally, it looks at zar professionals (leaders and musicians), zar music and dance, and zar paraphernalia.

Keywords:   Abyssinia, slavery, Egypt, spirit possession, Islam, zar ritual placation, zar professionals, zar music, zar paraphernalia

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