A “Must See” Video of Pure Joy: Ismaili Jubilee Games Lantern Travels Across Pakistan Amid Scenes of Jubilation and Heightened Interest in Games to be Held in Dubai

“I DREAM OF PEACE,” SAYS THIS YOUNG BOY IN A FANTASTIC WELCOMING CEREMONY FOR THE FANOUS IN PAKISTAN

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BY SULTAN JESSA

From some of the densest urban areas to the remotest corners of this earth, the fanous or lantern of the second Ismaili Jubilee Games has been welcomed worldwide by hundreds of thousands of Ismailis with deep joy, and has generated an immense amount of interest for the  games that will commence in Dubai on July 22, 2016.

Over 2,000 Ismaili athletes from around the world will be participating in the Games, with thousands more travelling from different parts of the world to lend support to athletes from their respective countries. The games are in keeping with the wish of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th Imam of Ismaili Muslims, that international sporting festivals become a regular feature within the community. The Jubilee Games will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, a top class facility that plays host to world-class events.

Fanous is Arabic for lamp or light. It has a special meaning particularly for Ismailis. It is said that when the Fatimid Imam-caliph Mawlana Al-Mu’izz entered the newly built city of al-Qahira (Cairo) for the first time on July 23, 969, its citizens lined the streets to greet him by holding lanterns made of palm leaves and animal skins. Thus, the modern games fanous is a symbol for Ismailis everywhere to support excellence in sports that athletes will be striving for, to become the best in what they can do.

The lantern was on the top of Africa last month – it scaled the summit of the snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania. Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain and is 19,360 feet. On June 17, 2016, it was welcomed at the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby, Canada, in front of a very large crowd and thereafter visited numerous jamatkhanas in the Vancouver area. Almost 200 Ismaili children in the Vancouver area also got an opportunity to welcome and hold the lantern on June 19, 2016 at their annual soccer camp.

One of the most astonishing receptions for the lantern, as it travelled around the globe, was in Pakistan. The short video clip is a testimony to how a symbol from Ismaili history dating back a 1,000 years has played such a significant role in heightening an awareness and interest for the games that in turn will deeply inspire the athletes to be the best they can at the week long Ismaili Jubilee Games.

Date posted: July 2, 2016.

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We invite comments on the welcoming ceremony for the fanous, and the forthcoming Ismaili Jubille Games to be held in Dubai.