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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class — Holidays in Egypt Series at ArabicPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Egyptian holidays and observances. I’m John, and you're listening to Lesson 8. Sphinx Festival. In Egyptian Arabic, it’s called [مهرجان ابو الهول (mahragān ʾabū el-hūl)].
The Sphinx Festival began in Egypt in 2009. As you all know, the Sphinx or [ابو الهول (ʾabū el-hūl)] is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Egypt and it is located near the three pyramids of Giza, which in Arabic are called [أهرامات الجيزة (ʾahrāmāt el-ǧīzah)]. The festival is named after the Sphinx.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question—
When was the Sphinx discovered?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The Sphinx Festival is an annual festival with a movable date, but it is usually held between October and December and it lasts for five days. The festival includes workshops by famous artists who are experienced and skilled in various Egyptian arts. They are interested in preserving the Egyptian heritage and they share this interest with the festival participants, by teaching them these arts.
The general objective of the Festival is the preservation of Egyptian folklore, or [فلكلور (fulkulūr)], in terms of traditional and popular arts, such as folk dances, traditional songs, modern and classical songs, and other events. For example, concerning music and songs, there are shows of Zar music and drums, shows of Saidi music played on Egyptian traditional instruments such as [ربابة (rabābah)], which is one of the most ancient stringed instruments in the world. There are also shows by pop artists.
At the Sphinx Festival, traditional dances are also celebrated. You can see shows of skirt dance, or [تنورة (tannūrah)], performed by the famous Mahmoud Reda's troupe, and other shows of Egyptian belly dance, or [رقص شرقي (raʾṣ šarʾī)]. The belly dance shows are among the most important events of the Festival because many people, particularly foreigners, want to attend them.
The Sphinx Festival is very well-known among foreigners, so the organizers arranged for the Festival and the workshops to be broadcast online so that the fans of the Festival who long to attend it but can't come to Egypt can enjoy the festivities.
And now I'll give you the answer to the earlier quiz.
When was the Sphinx discovered?
The Sphinx was discovered during the period of the French Campaign (1798 – 1801) in Egypt. The body of the Sphinx was then totally covered with sand, or [رمل (raml)]. It was the famous Egyptologist, Mariette, who removed the sand and the body appeared as seen today.
So listeners, how was this lesson? Do you have festivities for traditional or popular arts in your country?
Let us know in the comments and we’ll see you next time! Bye! إلى اللقاء (ʾilā al-liqaāʾ)!