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Lamu Travel Guide

Maulidi in Lamu

One of the main holidays in the Muslim tradition is the Maulidi or Milad-un-Nabii, it is the celebration of the Prophet Muhammed's (Peace Be Upon Him) birth, the festival is held during the third month of the Muslim calendar.

Maulidi is a month-long celebration - usually takes place in June - during the last week of the month, in Lamu, there is a four-day long festival, since 1990, the National Museums of Kenya, is the sponsor of the celebration. It organizes dancing demonstrations, donkey races, dhow races, Swahili poetry events, Islamic calligraphy competitions, Koranic recitals, henna competition, and other entertainments. Is estimated that at least 50,000 people attend this festival every year.

Maulidi has been celebrated in Lamu for centuries, the responsible for how is celebrated at present is “Habib Swaleh” or Swaleh ibn Alwy ibn Abdullah Jamal al-Lail, at that time no Mosque allowed instruments to be played inside, so he was the first to include musical instruments at the Maulids, founded the Riyadha Mosque, where nowadays main religious celebrations take place, and the Mosque College in 1901.

In the middle of the festival, in mosques and homes, local people recite one of four Maulids; these Maulids are poetry based in the history and life of the Prophet. A Maulid can be read at any important event.

Lamu hosts the biggest Maulidi on the East African coast, Muslims of this part of the world choose Lamu to observe and take part of this special event.

Lamu, as a town rich in traditions and culture and history, has music, dance and rituals unlike any others, local people are very happy to share their island with visitors, but is necessary a measure of respect for local traditions.


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