Egypt It is an interesting country whose inhabitants maintain various customs related to their culture and religion. In this article, we will talk about the most important traditions that are preserved today both in rural areas and in cities.
Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.
About 90% of Egyptians are Muslims, so religion is quite present in the culture of this African country. Among the different customs of this faith is that of not drinking alcohol or eating pork.
On the other hand, there is a small minority of Copts, a branch of Christianity characteristic of this territory. Therefore, it is possible to find a church in some areas of Egypt.
Christmas and New Year
Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas. Unlike most of the world, for them the most important day is the 7 de Enero. Among the different traditions of these dates, is that of going to church with new clothes, giving gifts to poor people and fasting.
On the night of January 7, a great dinner is organized with family and friends known as Done. Boiled meat, rice, bread and garlic are eaten in it.
The New Year is celebrated mostly in big cities due in part to the influx of tourists. However, for the Copts, this date is celebrated on September 11, the day they give gifts to children. The night before is known as nochevieja.
Birthday is an important day for Egyptians. Therefore, they organize parties with friends and family. In them abundant food is served, as well as typical sweets.
Weddings and marriage
In rural areas of Alto Egypt cousin weddings are still common. This means that it is the family, and not the couple, who is in charge of deciding who will marry whom.
It is common for the girl's father to give a dowry to the future husband. However, it is the groom's family that has to pay for the wedding banquet and housing, among other things.
At the wedding, it is typical to do a wedding march known as zaffa. In it, traditional music is performed and there are dancers and artists. Some dancers carry a chandelier in the head. They are in charge of taking the bride to the groom's house by calling Shamadan dance.
Islam allows a man to marry more than one woman, although this is not common today. If so, the husband should be responsible for supporting all women equally. Also, you have to have the permission of the first wife. A married woman cannot travel abroad without her husband's permission.
Customs and habits
In Egypt it is rude to point people directly. When greeting, the right hand is usually shaken. Between people of the same sex, they can also kiss twice.
Although it seems a strange custom, in Egypt and the rest of Arab countries it is normal for two men to walk holding hands down the street as a symbol of friendship. It should be remembered that homosexuality is frowned upon and even punished. You can learn more about this topic in the following article: The 10 worst tourist destinations for the LGBT community.
On the other hand, the left hand is not used for the main actions such as eating or touching a person, as it is considered rude.
As in other cultures, meals have a social function and people tend to get together. In addition, they are usually the main activity when celebrating certain dates such as birthdays.
El full medames it is considered the National dish. Its main ingredient is beans, which are cooked in a copper pot over low heat. Afterwards, they are seasoned with olive oil, garlic, parsley, onion and lemon juice.
Another typical dish is fesikh, which is a salt-dried fish. With food, Egyptians usually drink water with some kind of flavor like orange blossom. Bread is one of the most important elements in Egyptian gastronomy. It is made in different ways and usually accompanies main dishes.
Women have more freedoms than in other Arab countries, as they can drive, go alone on the streets and work. However, it is not recommended that they go unaccompanied in the afternoon and evening.
Also, there is quite a difference between the country and the city. In rural areas, the environment is more conservative and women have a greater responsibility in raising children.
In rural areas, the fact that the elbows and knees are not shown, and that women wear their hair covered is more strictly enforced. However, in large cities there is greater freedom. The main material with which the garments are made is the cotton.
Women tend to dress covering the shoulders, chest and belly. Some carry hijab, covering the head and chest, or niqab, which covers the entire face and only leaves the eyes uncovered.
As for the men, they wear baggy pants and a shirt. In the most modern cities you can also see some boys with shorts, although there are also those that cover the whole body.
When it comes to doing business, Egyptians don't come to an agreement until they have a trusting relationship with the other person. For this reason, the meetings are usually quite long and they talk about other topics in addition to business.
Punctuality is not an essential requirement, since they have a different conception of time from other countries and they do not like to be in a hurry. Therefore, you have to have patience.
It is common for small gifts to be exchanged and to attend a meal or show as a way to gain more confidence and get to know each other better.
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