At least 10,000 guests and tourists from across the globe are expected to attend this year’s Lamu Maulid Festival which kicked off yesterday.
The week-long event which is in its 132nd edition is taking place at Lamu Old Town.
The Maulid Festival is marked annually by a section of Muslims in remembrance of the birth of Prophet Muhammed in the holy city of Mecca in 570AD.
The festival is marked every third month of the Islamic calendar and is always held at Riyadha Mosque, which is considered as the centre for the event.
The Riyadha Mosque is the longest functioning and most influential Islamic teaching institution in the Swahili World (Coastal East Africa).
Speaking to the Nation at Riyadha Mosque and Islamic Centre grounds, secretary-general Abubakar Mohammed Badawy said they had already received more than 200 guests from Tanzania who are in Lamu to attend this year’s celebration.
Mr Badawy said apart from Tanzania, they were also expecting guests from other counties — including Nairobi, Mombasa and Kilifi — as well as from Zanzibar, Yemen, Omani, Comoros Islands, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Middle East and other countries.
The Nation also observed that Muslim faithful from various islands within Faza, Kizingitini, Ndau, Tchundwa, Matondoni, Kipungani, Kiwayu and other places of the archipelago begun flocking to Lamu Old Town early this week for the event.
“We are set for this year’s Maulid Festival. We expect a huge turnout of guests between 6,000 to 10,000 from various parts of Kenya and outside the country to attend the event,” said Mr Badawy.
Key organisers of the event are Riyadha Mosque, Islamic Centre, National Museums of Kenya-Lamu branch, the Lamu Islamic Trust Fund and the local community.
Lamu residents and guests attending the fete are also benefiting from free medical camps organised by Rihyadha Health and Welfare Services Group.
Various competitions have been organised during Maulid Festival in a move aimed at adding colour to the event. They include swimming, donkey race and dhow sailing.
The climax of the event is on Friday. There will be a prize giving ceremony for contesters at Mkunguni Square.