Culture and Traditions:
As with every country worldwide, Egypt has a culture of its own and can vary from different regions due to cultural and historical backgrounds.
Overall, Egyptians are very happy people with a great sense of humour. This is known due to their comedy movies all produced in Egypt and watched all across the Arab world. It is also known that all film and music productions are generally made in Egypt and viewed not just in Arabic countries, but in many places across the world.
Egyptians are also very hospitable and particularly humble in the poorer regions. Even those with small incomes will go out of their way to welcome you and often use the phrase ‘welcome home to Egypt’.
Wedding are a hugely important part of Egyptian life with extremely elaborate ceremonies which can often go on for over a week. The bride will have several wedding outfits often decorated with lavish jewels to show that her husband can provide for her. Another custom often seen at weddings, is the bride using specials creams to whiten her face, which is said to be because they prefer the look of lighter skinned western women. You will always know when there is a wedding as it is tradition that all the guests will follow the bridal car, honking horns loudly as they drive!
In Upper Egypt, are the Nubian people located mostly in the City of Aswan. Originally, they came from Africa due to the Nile floods before the Aswan Dam was constructed and settled in Egypt. Therefore, they have a darker skin and their own customs, yet adapted well into Egyptian culture.
Part of their culture is that a Nubian woman can only marry a Nubian man as to keep their traditions and culture unchanged for centuries. Their homes are generally very basic and built from mud bricks, yet often painted with very colourful designs. Nubians are also known for their happy nature and extreme friendliness and love showing people around their villages, offering drinks and a tour of their homes. They have their own traditional dances using long sticks and tambourine style drums and colourful costumes.
In general, Upper Egyptians live in very basic homes due to low incomes, yet they tend to be the happiest people and always welcome visitors. In Cities like Luxor, you will see most Egyptian men over the age of 30-40 wearing the traditional galabayas, the long brown or white cotton dress worn in many Arabic countries in smaller cities, towns and villages. Customs tend to be much stricter for women with regards clothing in these regions like the headdress known as the Hijab or the Burka which is down to respect for their religion along with a galabaya.
In the bigger cities such as Cairo and Alexandria, it is slightly more relaxed due to families being on higher incomes and clothing styles and fashion more available. However, some families often chose to stick to more conservative dress.
Celebrations are extremely important to Egyptians with weddings, birthdays and dates in the calendar around Muslim events such as the Prophet Muhammed’s birthday. Also, Coptic Christians have their own celebrations with the Coptic New Year being a very important date on their calendar. Parties are very elaborate often spilling out on to the streets meaning many locals join in the fun. During holidays, most Egyptian families head to the beach resorts from the big cities to enjoy the relaxation from big city life.
Food plays a huge part in Egyptian life with food preparations going on from early morning throughout the day into evening. Over the centuries, other countries have had an influence on cuisine in Egypt such as the Turks and Greco- Roman periods. However, traditional food is still present all over Egypt.
The Nubian people have their own cuisines and make their own style of bread and cannellini beans along with other tasty meat and chicken dishes.
One very famous Egyptian dish is Kushari, a vegetarian meal using rice, macaroni, tomato sauce, lentils, garlic, onion, pepper flakes and seasoning. It is usually eaten for lunch or dinner but can be eaten at any time.
There is a long list of Egyptian dishes, with very popular foods such as mahshi (stuffed vine leaves),baba ganoush (a dip made from aubergine), mulukhiya (green leave vegetable often cooked with chicken, meat or fish depending on the region of Egypt, ful medales (lava beans with lemon juice and oil served with bread as a breakfast dish), ta’ameya (Egyptian falafel), Alexandria liver and sausages, and much more! Sweet dishes are also very much an important part of Egyptian food. Food is often eaten with the fingers which is common, often making it easier to eat!
Along with traditional foods, Egypt has all the big food chains such as McDonalds and KFC in most big cities and tourist resorts. However, there is nothing better than trying the local foods from restaurants and take away food outlets to really experience traditional cuisine which is delicious! We can see, there is so much on offer in this ancient country with a mix of old and new, great places to visit and indulge in history plus landscapes, eat local food, and experience customs and traditions throughout this vast county.
Egypt awaits you!