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Other Festivals A week-long festival (mawsim) by the name of Khams al-Ruzz— Thursday of the Rice—was celebrated at Mashhad R¨ªn in northern Syria in the spring, since the mid seventh/thirteenth century. The festival drew people from Aleppo, Óamåh, Óarrån, Bålis and their surroundings.55 On the feasts of the Assumption and the Nativity of the Virgin, Muslims—according to Burchard of Strasburg (the emissary of Frederic I to Saladin)—visited Saydanåya, a village outside Damascus, housing a famed icon of the Virgin, which Franks had also valued. They made supplications and votive oerings like the Christians.56 Rites of the Life Cycle Birth and infancy—The birth of an heir to the throne was celebrated in a grand manner: the city was decorated, fun and amusement were provided, food and presents were given out to soldiers, scholars and students at madrasas, ͨfs and commoners.57 The aqqa was a ritual performed for the newborn child. A blood sacrice in its nature, the aqqa consists of shaving the head of the child, killing a sheep or a goat (no bone of which may be broken), and oering the following prayer: Oh God, here is the aqqa for my son giving the name, its blood for his blood, its esh for his esh, its hair for his hair, and save my son from the re . . . . Customarily, two goats were slaughtered (either by the father or by the imåm) for a male child, and one for a female.58 It was probably accompanied by merry-making, such as the beating of drums, dance and song, and the recitation of poetry. The circumcision (khitån) of the son of a ruler was a festive occasion: the city was decorated, musicians played, alms and clothes were


See pp. 194–195, above. Meri, The Cult, 211. 57 During the celebrations in honor of the birth of al-Malik al-Azzs son, for example, a boat took gay passengers from the citadel to the town, until an accident occurred, and the cruising was halted (Ibn Wå‚il, Mufarrij, 4:283). N¨r al-Dn celebrated the birth of his son in 9 similar manner in 565/1169–70 (Lev, Charity, 26). 58 For the mention of the ritual in early thirteenth century Damascus (in a scholarly family of rural origins), see ¤iyå al-Dn al-Maqdis, Aªwål, 125a. About the ritual, see Zwemer, Atonement, 190; Giladi, Children, 35–40; Juynboll, AÀÀa. 56

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Jsrc 007 talmon heller islamic piety in medieval syria mosques, cemeteries and sermons under the zan  

Jsrc 007 talmon heller islamic piety in medieval syria mosques, cemeteries and sermons under the zan