Egypt Travel Essentials: Holidays & Festivals



Holidays & Festivals

Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, lasts for 28 days each year with the dates moving forward compared to the western calendar by around 11 days per year. Nightlife blossoms during this period, despite it being a "dry" time for Egyptians, and special temporary entertainment tents spring up all around Cairo serving huge quantities of oriental food, aromatic water pipes or "Sheesha", and loud Arabic music in equal abundance from sunset till 4am. Tourists welcome!
Between March and May each year, depending on the Coptic Easter, a national holiday called "Sham El-Nessim" - "Smelling the Blossoms Day" - celebrates the fragrant blossoms that grace Egypt's many flowering trees at the beginning of spring. Families often spend the day with a picnic in a local green area - sometimes simply on grassy roadside verges - and traditionally enjoy a pickled fish dish called "fesikh". (Not recommended for the faint-hearted - fesikh is famously pungent!)
Most other festivals in Egypt are religious in nature and very localized, generally celebrating the birth or death of a neighborhood saint. Most are not of great interest to tourists, being aimed at pilgrims rather than the casual observer.



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