No matter how grand and joyful the official opening of the new Suez Canal will be, it in no way compares to the spontaneous effervescent joy that inundates the streets of Egypt. “Egyptians have planned, executed, and funded this new waterway,” a young mother and working woman says. “Small wonder that they now celebrate their success, the pride of their handiwork, so to speak.”
The days preceding the opening day have seen a jubilant air engulf Egypt’s streets, media, and social media. “Egypt is happy” was the slogan raised by Egyptians nationwide. Vehicles, private and public, roam the roads carrying Egyptian flags and running patriotic and folkloric songs on the radios and music players.
A carnival-like atmosphere promises to be the order of the day on 6 August. Giant screens have been placed in squares for the opening ceremony to be watched by everyone. Young people in several towns are preparing for processions on foot or on motorbikes, complete with balloons, flowers, the new Suez Canal logo, and folk music.
In Alexandria, the young men and women who are participating in the programmes offered by Bibliotheca Alexandrina will be holding in the Bibliotheca’s Plaza a celebration of their own on the morning of Thursday 6 August. They will spread a giant 100m-long and 9m-wide Egyptian flag which they will then carry in a procession to the Corniche then march back with it to the Bibliotheca.
In every governorate, Egyptians were able to use an online profile picture of the new Suez Canal logo. The profile pictures, one unique for every governorate, were made available to the public by the media apparatus of the Egyptian Police.
The Culture Ministry’s institutions including the Cairo Opera House, the Theatre House and the various State theatres, and the Cultural Development Fund are presenting performances to celebrate the opening of the Canal. Entrance is free on the evenings of Wednesday and Thursday.
State theatres are running more than 14 theatrical shows in Cairo and Alexandria, and six shows that roam the provinces performing plays for children and the general public. Some 10 ensembles for folklore dance and song are also presenting shows in several places in Egypt, and will be in the honour of welcoming Egypt’s guests to the opening ceremony of the new Suez Canal.
Egypt’s singers are competing to offer songs to commemorate the opening. Muhammad Mounir, the widely loved singer of Nubian origin dubbed “The King” by Egyptian audiences, is introducing two new songs, as is the folk singer Shaaban Abdel-Rehim.
Tuesday evening saw a dress rehearsal carried out by the Cairo Opera in the Ismailiya theatre that will witness the opening of the Suez Canal on Thursday 6 August. Some 1000 performers and workers gathered with Ines Abdel-Dayem, director of the Cairo Opera House to rehearse Thursday’s performances. Omar Khairat played with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, the Cairo Opera Orchestra, the Acapella Choir, the Cairo Opera Choir, and the Children’s Choir conducted by Nayer Nagy.
The second part of the rehearsal was the Victory scene of Aida. The main roles were sung by the stars of the Cairo Opera Group; Soprano Iman Mustafa as Aida and the Italian tenor Antonio Ceriano as Redamis, together with the bass baritone Reda al-Wakil, the mezzo soprano Julie Faizi and others.
Once the rehearsal was over, Ismailiya public greeted the musicians and opera singers with a large celebratory procession that drove them through the streets of the town, chanting “Long live Egypt” and raising the Egyptian flag.
5 August 2015