The event is organized in the village of Al-Qurna, which was founded by the architect Hassan Fathi in 1947; To revive the art of Egyptian architecture.
The organization of the “National Tahtib” festival, which began on Thursday, comes at the conclusion of the first phase of the Gourna restoration project, in cooperation between the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and the United Nations UNESCO.
And what distinguishes the current session, the head of the festival, Muhammad Al-Shafei, told Sky News Arabia, “Since the establishment of the festival, it has been held in the courtyard of the Abu Al-Hajjaj Mosque in Luxor Governorate, considering that it is a game that fits with the wide popular squares, but with the completion of part of the restoration of the village of Qurna. We had to fulfill the dream of its founder, Hassan Fathi, to establish a woodworking yard in it.”
Dance of entertainment and pride
The art of tahtib is a distinctive dance in Egypt, performed by men with a wooden stick, and takes the form of an artistic dance and matches to compete for skills at the same time, and it dates back to ancient Egyptian history, and its official celebration disappeared during periods of foreign occupation while the villages preserved its existence, then interest in it returned within The government’s interest in reviving folklore, and UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site in 2016.
Masoud Shoman, a researcher specializing in folklore and folklore, believes that tahtib is one of the arts that “must be preserved along with the Hilali biography and Arabic calligraphy.”
Regarding his participation in the festival, Shoman told Sky News Arabia that he was “accompanied by a group of researchers to collect and document everything related to the game, its history, how to play it, the player’s appropriate recipes for it, and his clothes,” recalling the documentation that the ancient Egyptians left for the game on the walls of the Abydos temple. and the tombs of “Bani Hassan”.
Age is not a requirement
Among the advantages of “Al-Tahteeb” is that it is not related to an age, which was explained by one of its practitioners, Talaat Al-Talawi, by saying: “I came to participate in the festival despite my 84 years of age, and I still play the game, which is my favorite hobby.”
Regarding the rules of “Al-Tahteeb”, Al-Talawi explains: “We start by reciting Al-Fatihah, then the peace between us with the stick as if it were two hands greeting each other, then the spraying step comes, which is the movement of the stick around the body to protect it,” pointing out that each group has a “stick sheikh”, that is, an old man. Game expert guided by his advice.
It is worth noting that the oldest traces of tahtib were found in inscriptions at the archaeological site of Abu Sir, which is a large cemetery from the times of ancient Egyptian history dating back about 4,500 years, and is located in the southwestern suburbs of Cairo.