Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Best Ramadan Fawazeer of All Time

Sun 24 Mar 2024 | 02:56 PM
Ahmed Emam

Ramadan Fawazeer is a beloved tradition that began on Egyptian radio in the 1960s and soon moved to television. As someone born in the millennial generation, I used to watch the glamorous Nelly sing and dance while making her viewers guess riddles. She starred in Fawazeer Ramadan between 1975 and 1981 and had another run on TV from the late-mid 1990s.

In 1961, Egypt aired its first TV riddle show, Ala Raai Al-Mathal (As the Saying Goes), presented by Amal Fahmi with riddles written by Al-Tonsi based on the book Al-Amthal Al-Ammeya (Colloquial Proverbs) by Mahmoud Taymour. Al-Tonsi advised viewers to look at the book to identify the proverbs, and each episode presented a compelling short play based on a colloquial saying that the audience was supposed to guess.

In 1967, Fawazeer were shown on TV with an array of celebrities whose names became synonymous with Ramadan, particularly Nelly, Sherihan, and Samir Ghanem. They became a part of the annual Ramadan entertainment shows not only in Egypt but also in the Arab world.

Among them was Tholathy Adwaa Al-Masrah (The Trio of Theatre Lights), a one-of-a-kind TV show that featured exceptional stage performances and riddles presented by three widely-admired comedy icons Al-Deif Ahmed, George Sidhom, and Samir Ghanem. It was written by poet Hussein Al-Sayed and directed by Mohamed Salem. “Tholathy Adwaa Al-Masrah was really funny. You watched it for a good laugh. Al-Deif Ahmed died in 1970, and the Fawazeer continued with just George and Samir,” Kinias said.

Nelly’s Fawazeer:

Nelly’s Fawazeer (1975-1996) was also a perfect combination of the genuine creativity of director Fahmi Abdel-Hamid and the remarkable artistic talent of actress Nelly that led to the outstanding success of this show. In 1975, Abdel-Hamid began directing the TV show Soura and Fazoura (A Photo and A Riddle) with the help of the writer Salah Jahine and the contribution of choreographer Hassan Afifi, one of the lead dancers at the Reda Dance Troop. Among favourite Ramadan editions of the show was Fawazeer Al-Khatba (Riddles of the Matchmaker) in 1981, which included dances, songs and an uncommon feature at that time — cartoon characters.

Nelly’s Fawazeer ran for more than two decades on Arab TV stations with new riddles every Ramadan, including Soura wa Fazzortein (1975), Fawazeer Arosty (1980), Fawazeer Alam Waraq (1990), Fawazeer Sandouq Al-Donia (1991), and Fawazeer Zay Al-Naharda (1996) — which was Nelly’s last Ramadan show in her long career.

Fattouta’s Fawazeer:

Fattouta’s Fawazeer (1982-1984) was a unique Ramadan show introduced in 1982 by Fahmi Abdel-Hamid that featured the actor and comedian Samir Ghanem and a miniature form of him — called Fattouta — dressed in a loose-fitting green suit and large yellow shoes. This miniature was an entertaining character that sang, danced, and told riddles in humorous ways. Fawazeer Amo Fouad (1983-1993) featured actor Fouad Al-Mohandess, who presented an educational and humorous show for a whole decade that left an imprint on viewers of all ages.

Boogy Wa Tamtam:

Boogy Wa Tamtam (1983-2009) was the most treasured puppet show in Egyptian television history that captivated the hearts and minds of multiple generations. It featured a clumsy monkey (Boogy) and his intelligent rabbit sister (Tamtam), as well as other characters like Tamatem, Ziko, and Uncle Shakshak, with their songs, dances and conversations.

The talent of comedians Younis Shalabi (Boogy) and Hala Fakher (Tamtam), in addition to the efficient work of puppet designer and director Mohamed Rahmi, contributed to the success of the show in Egypt and the Arab world. It managed to maintain its position every Ramadan by keeping young audiences tuned into the puppets’ daily-life stories.

Geddo Abdou’s Fawazeer:

Geddo Abdou’s Fawazeer (1987-1988) by Abdel-Moneim Madbouli was another popular Ramadan show engraved into the minds and hearts of the 1980s generation by actor Abdel-Moneim Madbouli. 

The legendary show managed to entertain both children and adults, and it brought family members together to guess the plants that Geddo Abdou discussed in every episode, enriching the audience’s knowledge.