Cairo: When Egyptian animal tamer Mohammad Al Yamani appeared on the stage along with a girl clad in an engagement dress inside a lion cage of a local circus, the audience thought they were in for an exciting show.
On each side of the place stood a lion. Minutes later, the circus management in the Suez Canal city of Port Said told the stunned audience that the girl with the young tamer was his fiancee and that this was their engagement party.
Al Yamani, 23, presented gold to his apprehensive bride amid applause from the audience, Egyptian media reported.
Family and friends of the couple murmured nervously while watching the spectacle. Al Yamani, who is the son of a veteran animal trainer, later said he wanted to hold what he claimed was the world’s first engagement ceremony inside a lion cage.
Al Yamani told private newspaper Al Masry Al Youm that his 20-year-old bride agreed on the plan.
“Despite my bride’s confidence in me, I noticed signs of fear on her face as we entered the lion cage,” he said. “I was keen to protect her from any danger. Therefore, when I saw that one lion found her [bride’s] presence unfamiliar and refused to obey my instructions of doing tricks, I ordered him be taken out of the cage.”
Photos of the event went viral online, triggering mixed comments of admiration and criticism of the spectacle.
One photo shows the bride carrying a large snake as the groom embraces a lion cub.