The of the saints at pilgrimage sites is one of the of the Coptic religious life, past and present. In the Late Antique period, the significant pilgrimage center of St. (Abu Mina), which flourished from the fifth to the eighth century, attracted from all over the world. flock annually to more than 60 pilgrimage centers all over . The pilgrimage sites associated with the and St. George (Mari Girgis) are the most famous among them. There are many pilgrimage sites believed to be blessed by the in their that are visited annually by hundreds of thousands of pious people. The pilgrimage site of St. George at Riziqat near is the most popular.

A visit to any one of them involves some customs and rituals that include special in honor of the saints; and donations of , incense, or and the sacrifice of an such as a ; baptism of children; tattooing the cross on the children’s right wrist; and often exorcisms. The pilgrimage is often described by the as mulid, a colloquial term that designates a feast or a celebration in honor of a saint.

Coptic mulid is an occasion for outdoor religious festivities combined with opportunities for commerce and entertainment. Some of its aspects have roots in the religious heritage of Egypt and might be considered as “survivals.” Beginning in the late 1970s, the fundamentalists’ movements strove to affect the mulid practices of both Muslim and Copts. On the other hand, a “clericalization” of the activities of the Coptic mulids by the is unmistakable.

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