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Zar – Spirit Possession, Music, and Healing Rituals in Egypt - Cairo Scholarship Online
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Zar: Spirit Possession, Music, and Healing Rituals in Egypt

Hager El Hadidi


Zar is both a possessing spirit and a set of reconciliation rites between the spirits and their human hosts: living in a parallel yet invisible world, the capricious spirits manifest their anger by causing ailments for their hosts, which require ritual reconciliation, a private sacrificial rite practiced routinely by the afflicted devotees. Originally spread from Ethiopia to the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf through the nineteenth-century slave trade, in Egypt zar has incorporated elements from popular Islamic Sufi practices, including devotion to Christian and Muslim saints. The ceremonies ini ... More

Keywords: zar, possessing spirit, reconciliation rite, ritual reconciliation, Egypt, Muslim women, trance, gender asymmetry, zar ritual, zar song

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9789774166976
Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2017 DOI:10.5743/cairo/9789774166976.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Hager El Hadidi, author
University of Richmond