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Religion and Humour: The Islamic Feast of Sacrifice in Egyptian Cartoons

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The Islamic Feast of Sacrifice that starts after the conclusion of the pilgrimage ceremonies in Mecca will be briefly described at the outset of the lecture. In addition to the traditional customs associated with this Feast, a unique folklore has developed. Shortly before the feast, sheep in growing numbers can be seen in Cairo’s more humble neighborhoods, and Cairo gives the impression of being not only a city for millions of people but also for hundreds of thousands of sheep. People are raising sheep, buying and selling sheep, and talking about sheep. This intensive co-existence of human beings and animals has led to the creation of special humour. The relationship between men and sheep according to this humour is different from the relationship in real life, and much sympathy is given to the sheep in many cartoons published in the Egyptian press. The materials I have collected and my personal impressions are embedded in this lecture.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Humanities Society talks series.

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