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3 years ago

Suheir Magdy Egyptian Bellydancer 1963

Golden Era Dancers
This clip is from the 1963 film Arous Al Nil (Bride of the Nile) starring Rushdie Abaza as an engineer who is sent to the South of Egypt to search for petroleum and Lubna Abdel Aziz as the mythical Bride of the Nile who appears before him to try and stop him from desecrating the land but she ends up falling in love with him. In this scene she arrives at his wedding just as the dancer is performing and causes mischief among the wedding guests. The dancer in this wedding scene is Suheir Magdy, a 1960's dancer who appeared in a handful of films during that decade. The movie is somewhat reminiscent of Samia Gamal's film Afrita Hanem and coincidentally Rushdie Abaza was Samia Gamal's real life husband. This film is based on the ancient Egyptian legend about the Bride of the Nile. This legend that is still widely believed by Egyptians, says that in Pharaonic times an important festival was celebrated in Egypt, where a young virgin was chosen from among the most beautiful women in the land and was thrown into the Nile as a sacrifice to the river god Hapi in order to ensure that the waters of the Nile would continue to flow and flood abundantly. She was known by Egyptians as the Bride of the Nile. In later times, the human sacrifice was replaced by a clay effigy in the form of a girl, which was thrown into the Nile yearly to appease the god. This festival and the custom of choosing a young virgin to represent the Bride of the Nile was mentioned by Egyptian Historian Al Maqrizi (1364-1422) who wrote that the custom was practiced in Egypt until the arrival of Islam, when the Caliph Omar Ibn El Kattab banned the pagan ritual. Tourists in Egypt reported seeing the ritual of throwing the clay effigies into the Nile as late as the 1700s and 1800s. Recently however, some historians have disputed that this festival ever existed, saying that the ancient Egyptian civilization was peaceful by nature, they hated violence and they did not practice human sacrifice. Egyptology researcher Bassam el Shamaa claims that the story about the young virgin being thrown into the Nile was actually invented by the Greek historian Plutarch and the story then spread to Egypt from Greece. You can read more about the legend here: