Photojournalist – Tunisia

Procession to Sidi Bou Said: EL-Talaa

Procession to Sidi Bou Said: EL-Talaa

The Aissaouia (in Arabic) (a Sufi mystic religious order) of Ariana city, northern Tunisia, held its annual procession (kharja: Arabic ) to Sidi Bou Said, a town in northern Tunisia located about 20 km from the capital, on August 21, 2016.

The procession is called the ascension (EL-Talaa: Arabic), because the town of Sidi Bou Said is located on a mountain.

Early in the morning the procession left the mausoleum (Zaouia: Arabic) of the saint Sidi Ammar El Maaroufi in Ariana, makes a tour of the city, and then returns to the mausoleum.

In the late afternoon the same procession takes the direction of the mausoleum of the Muslim saint Sidi Bou Said in the little town bearing its name. The procession is preceded by the flag bearers, followed by members of the Aissaouia chanting spiritual songs under the sounds of traditional drums (Bendir in Arabic).

The leaders (Sheikh: Arabic) of Ariana city Aissaouia are welcomed by Sheikhs of the Aissaouia of Sidi Bou Said, at the entrance to the city, where they continue together the procession to the mausoleum.

During the procession some members of the Aissaouia enter into trance state. The ceremony ends inside the mausoleum of saint Sidi Bou Said where people recite some verses of the Koran to mark the end of the ceremony.