CAIRO: Residents of Port Said governorate will celebrate Sham el-Nessim on Monday evening by setting fire to “Allenby puppets”, Youm7 reported.
Sham el-Nessim is an Egyptian national holiday marking the beginning of spring. It always follows the Eastern Christian Easter. However, despite the date, Sham el-Nessim is celebrated by both Christians and Muslims, and the origins of the holiday date back to Ancient Egyptian times.
“Allenby puppets” are a traditional celebration generally associated with Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, known as 1st Viscount Allenby, who worked as High Commissioner for Egypt and the Sudan after the Egyptian Revolution in 1919 until 1925.
Allenby was the most hated occupier in the area, known for his ill-treatment of Egyptians.
Since then, the residents of Port Said have set fire to an effigy named after Allenby, in protestation to the oppression that Egyptians suffered from under him, and the idea has continued almost a century later, with the use of different figures of oppression.
And despite the warnings of administrative staff against continuing the tradition due to the density of gas pipes in the area, the burnings continue as normal this year, with a new series of names that comes every year due to the wildly changing political winds in Egypt.
In 2014, the artist Mohsen Khodeir chose Prince Hamad, the former Emir of Qatar, his wife Mouza, their son Prince Tamim, Emir of Qatar, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, to turn them into the Allenby effigies for this year. Also making it to the list is Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef, the presenter of the TV show El Bernameg, Youm7 reported.
Following the January 25 Revolution, Khodeir made effigies of former President Hosni Mubarak and other figures of corruptions during Mubarak’s regime, Veto Gate reported.
Whereas, during the ruling of Muslim Brotherhood, the former President Mohamed Morsi imposed a state-enforced curfew in Port Said, so the residents of Port Said violated the curfew and burnt an Allenby puppet of Morsi and the former Supreme Guide of the Brotherhood Mohamed Badie, Al-Araby news reported.
Additional reporting by Mohamed Awad.