In 2016 we visited the Egyptian Center for Culture and Art to witness a traditional Zar ceremony that has roots in Egyptian and Bedouin customs. Our Arabic instructor told us that Zars are considered taboo rituals by many Egyptians, due to the ceremony’s pagan roots. The Zar is intended to rid a person of spirit possession, fight against the evil eye, and cleanse negativity. Traditional Zar music is also used for a particular type of bellydance that uses movements that are also intended to fight against spirt possession.
The Egyptian Center for Culture and Art has a website with extra information on Zars and other traditional Egyptian ceremonies, which can be found here.