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.
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
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.