‘The court was exceptionally extravagant when celebrating religious and civic festivals.’
Chess was played widely at court, although al-Hakim bi Amrillah (r. 386–411 / 996–1021) banned the game in 403 / 1012. Astronomy and astrology were popular pastimes. Astrological charts were drawn up and caliphs like, for instance, al-Mu‘izz and al-Hakim engaged in astrology.
Beyond the various private pastimes, the court was exceptionally extravagant when celebrating religious and civic festivals. Processions were elaborate affairs used to display Fatimid might and propagate Isma‘ili theology. Keenly anticipated annual banquets and gift-presentation ceremonies were held for civil servants, army generals, the judiciary and the religious establishment.