Egypt Festivals: Exploring the Country’s RootsConsidered as the cradle of civilization, Egypt has one of the most fascinating histories of any modern country. Right from the tenth millennium BC till date, it has been one of the mystical lands and offers a lot of legends of human civilization.
Egypt has experienced various foreign influences including the Roman, Greek, Arab, Persian, European and Ottoman. During the first century of the Common Era, the country was Christianized; however, due to the subsequent Islamic conquests, Egypt became an Islam country. So, today most of the modern religious and cultural festivals either have Christian or Islamic influence. There are many modern day festivals that celebrate the beauty of music transcending race and religion. If you are planning to visit the country, why not make a plan keeping in mind Egypt festivals?
Eid al-adhaThe festival is also called Bakr Eid or 'sacrifice feast'. This is the second-most important Muslim festival and is celebrated all across the globe. In fact, it is considered the holier of the two. The celebration serves as an act of submission to God's command where people sacrifice animal meat which is then shared among the friends, family and distributed to the needy. The country warms up with light color and a lot of events that celebrates nothing but happiness.
MoulidThe term translates to birthday in Arabic and it is the celebration of a holy person. Both Christians and Muslims celebrate Moulid in honor of their saints. Even though most of the Moulid are Muslim, there are some Coptic saints who are revered through a similar Egypt festival. Coptic Moulids continues from May till October at the banks of the Nile delta to Assyut. The lunar Islamic calendar marks the dates of Islamic Moulid celebration. Although it is not a very customary celebration for all Muslims as it is not very religious per se but marks are very popular traditions of the Egyptian Muslim life.
The Coptic Easter and Coptic Christmas are regarded as the national holidays in Egypt. In today, these Egypt festivals resemble a lot like the Western festivals where you can find the Christmas Lights, Santa hats, Christmas trees and more. The Coptic Easter, in fact, has a much older route that dates back to the pharaonic times called Sham Al Naseem. This name literally translates to "sniffing the breeze" and it marks the arrival of spring in April. The holiday traditionally was familiar to the Western celebration of Easter and had events like painting eggs. Generally, Sham Al Naseem is when the family and friends go out to have picnics or for a day trip and enjoy the day with their loved ones. This Egypt festival calls for a very specific food named fesheekh - which is a type of pickled fish.
Read More: Public Holidays in Egypt
Wafaa Al NilCelebrating the 'Fidelity of the Nile', this Egypt Festival is celebrated in the month of September and is a very defining cultural identity of the country. It is marked by various events and activities that engage eight to octogenarian. From interesting competitions for children, various performing arts (See Egyptian Art) to some age-old rituals, the soul of the festival is about reflecting the pharaonic legend that says how the ancient Egyptians respected and loved the river Nile and its bounties.
It is a 5-day Egypt festival that is celebrated in December every year. It highlights the best Egyptian dance and is followed by various choreography sessions, performances and even international concerts. It is a feast of customs and traditions which can be enjoyed by people of every age.
See also Egyptian Customs
Leylet en NuktahThis is an ancient Egypt festival where people gathered and offered female sacrifices while worshipping the Nile River for its bounties. Leylet en Nuktah is still practiced today, but definitely not in the same way. Every year, in June, the Egyptians gather on the banks of the river and enjoy the day. You can find people camping or partying in the streets. A more representative version is used to worship. Families make equal numbers of balls of dough as the number of women family members in the house. By the morning, the number of cracks in the dough indicated the person’s longevity and fortune.
Cairo Jazz Festival (CJF)This is a more recent Egypt festival and brings together some of the world’s best musicians. Hold in March annually, this festival boosts of some top class performances by the biggest names in the industry. Held in three different locations in the capital, the Cairo Jazz Club will offer a lifetime of experience for every music buffs. It was founded by pianist, composer and producer Amro Salah in 2009 as a tribute to one of the unique forms of music. Jazz has been one of the most magical music presentations that transcend all boundaries and today is more of a global phenomenon. It has grown beyond just being a music style but is a human experience that reflects freedom of expression, ideas and innovation.
Exploring the cultural heritage of a country means exploring its roots. And what better can it be to enjoy with the folks of the nation during the festive spirit?