By Callum Paton.
Tripoli, 14 January 2014:
As the last few splutters of sporadic fireworks echo across Tripoli today, Mawlid Al-Nabi celebrations have . . .[restrict]drawn to a close. After two nights of exhaustive city-wide firework displays, it will be another year before festivities for the Prophet’s birthday come again.
A week ago, stalls selling toys, traditional drums, decorative lanterns and above all vast quantities of fireworks popped-up overnight along streets and on every corner. Days since have been punctuated by the snap of firecrackers or the supersonic boom of a rocket at 3:00 in the morning – followed by the inevitable sound of car alarms.
However, the build-up could never have been preparation for the final onslaught – a seven hour barrage of bottle rockets, sky rockets and roman candles – which gave the night sky across the city a permanent orange glow. Rain in the early hours of Monday morning may have put a slight dampener on proceedings but the most committed simply waited for it to stop and carried on.
In what is quickly becoming a Mawlid tradition all of its own, warnings by the Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani that celebrations of the Prophet’s birthday were taboo went widely unheeded, and hundreds joined in Sufi celebrations in the centre of Tripoli on the day itself.
People crammed into the narrow streets of Tripoli’s old city to follow the procession of Sufi musicians and singers as they made spiritual chants accompanied by drums. Celebrations in the old town began at midday and continued on well into the evening, with, of course an impromptu firework display.