Saturday September 30th, 2023
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Exploring the Origins of the Iconic Ramadan ‘Fanous’

The traditional Ramadan lantern (fanous) dates back to the Fatimid era in 969.

Farah Desouky

Al Ghouriya, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Fatimid Cairo, is known for housing ‘fanous’ craftsmen. The iconic lantern has been a symbol of Ramadan for centuries, used to decorate the homes and streets of Muslim communities and signal the beginning of the holy month.

The practice of using these lanterns as decoration dates back to the Fatimid reign in Egypt in 969, when Egyptians came out in masses holding lanterns to welcome Caliph Muizz as he arrived into Cairo during Ramadan. The gesture was inspired by ancient Egyptian traditions to celebrate special occasions by lighting the streets with lanterns, and have since become a part of Islamic culture across the region.