Al-Sharifa Maryam Al-Mirghaniyah, known as the ‘Mother of the Poor’ is one of the most influential figures in the Beja community's modern history in eastern Sudan. 

My dear granddaughter, you will accompany me today to a place where peace and security prevail for eight days. You will watch a camel race organized for fun and not for gain. We will attend Al-Sharifa Maryam Al-Mirghaniyah anniversary in Sinkat.

Al-Sharifa Maryam Al-Mirghaniyah, known as the ‘Mother of the Poor’ is one of the most influential figures in the Beja community's modern history in eastern Sudan. She established many Khalwas (Quran schools) to teach women and children their religion and how to memorise the holy Quran, how to be clean, honest and lead a better way of life. During her life and even after her death Al-Sharifa Maryam continued feeding and supporting the poor and helping to solve the social and economic problems of the community.

Al-Sharifa Maryam was an austere woman. Although a descendent of a rich family, with a large fortune inherited from her grandparents, she gave up living in luxury, and wearing expensive clothes. Throughout her life, she wore a white dress and only a small pin of gold in her nose to indicate her femininity.  She became an idol to all her followers.

Holiat Al-Sharifa Maryam Al-Mirghaniyah is the annual anniversary of her death held in the city of Sinkat, where the tomb of the Al-Sharifa Maryam Al-Mirghaniyah is found. This town is located in a valley in the middle of the Red Sea hills in eastern Sudan at latitude 18 50 North and longitude 36 50 East (nearly 90 kilometers south west the city of Port Sudan).

Al-Sharifa Maryam was born in 1867, died on the first of Rajab 1952, and was buried in Sinkat town, where her tomb is now a shrine. This is visited by thousands of women, men and children coming from north and eastern Sudan, as well as from neighboring countries Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Egypt. They visit the shrine of this honorable woman to reverence and glorify her, and to ask her blessing to obtain good offspring, cure their sick and help them lead a prosperous live. Many people come specially to make their marriage ties in this holy place.

The most important characteristic of the anniversary of the honourable Al-Sharifa Maryam Al-Mirghaniyah is the atmosphere of peace and security that pervades this city, in which hundreds of thousands of people of different nationalities, ethnicities, tribes and various languages ​​congregate for at least 8 days without any dispute, argument or quarrels. As soon as the sheikh raises his hand, saying: ‘peace’, then peace and security will prevail throughout this city. You do not see any police officers, army or security forces during the celebrations. The anniversary of Al-Sharifa Maryam is registered in the National Inventory of Cultural Heritage in Sudan, classified within the domain of knowledge concerning nature and universe as well as rituals, celebrations, oral literature, singing, performing costumes, food, folktales and camel racing.

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