Egyptian Culture

History

The History of Egyptian Culture is really old.  The six thousand years of recorded history says that the civilization of ancient Egypt is one of the earliest civilizations of the world. Egypt has been the torchbearer to influence later cultures of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The nature of Egyptian culture is strikingly complex and fairly stable.

However, after the Pharaonic era, the Egyptian culture was influenced by an array of different cultures like Hellenism, for a time Christianity, and later, Islamic culture.

The Egyptian culture of today is an interaction of the culture with different cultures, even the modern Western culture.

Food habits of the Egyptian People

The Egyptian cuisines mainly comprises of local cuisines such as Ful medames, Kushari and Molokhia. There is also a striking similarity of the Egyptian cuisine with eastern Mediterranean cuisines like kebab and falafel.

Some other traditional Egyptian cuisines are aysh (bread) in clay ovens of ancient pattern. The aysh shams (sun bread) which is yet another type of aysh. This aysh shams are left in the sun to rise. The main meal of the Egyptians consists of rice, beans, and vegetables. Special preparations of meat are made on special occasions. A special preparation of the Egyptians is the Fattah which is a dish made with layers of breads and rice. The meat is seasoned with vinegar and garlic and the dish is garnished with yogurt and nuts before serving. The fellahin is yet another dish eaten with bread and by dipping them into the serving dishes.

Clothing

The Egyptian clothes are interesting and different than other conventional dresses.  The Bedouin dresses are especially designed as desert. The layered and flowing robes can absorb the sun’s heat. The Bedouin also wear a cloth around his head and neck. These cloths help in restricting the moisture and also prevent the sun to strike the skin directly; otherwise, it can lead to heat stroke. This cloth is also very integral to shield the face against the dry sand as well.

The women do wear black dresses and cover their heads with cloths that are embroidered in tiny cross-stitch designs. However there are some set color rules. The unmarried women use blue head-clothes whereas married men use red. The face is also covered with a veil that has the same pattern of stitches. The veils are sometimes decorated with shells and coins.

When a married woman goes outside, she has to wear a black dress over her colored housedress. Her hair is covered with a long veil. Also the Egyptian women wear lots of gold ornaments like gold necklaces and silver bracelets and anklets.

The Egyptian man also dresses in a long robe (galabayya) which is made up of cotton in summer and wool in winter. A scarf is worn on the head like a turban. In winter, a woolen jacket is also worn.

In the robes of both the sexes, the long robe does cover the whole body. The loose outfit also helps in a good circulation of air and insulating the heat from the body. Though it is said that the black garments of the women do heat up as compared to the galabayya of the man, actually, both of them help in keeping the body cool.

Traditions

Majority of the people do believe in Islam when it comes to religious beliefs of the people. They are religious-minded people yet exhibit a broader oulook towards life.

The Western Gregorian calendar (B.C. /A.D.) is followed by the business and secular communities in Egypt. However, there are also other calendars that have official satus, like, the Islamic calendar.

Major Events

Christmas is celebrated by the Coptics of Egypt with much enthusiasm. Many regions of Egypt are lit up with multi-colored lights and varied decorations to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In the churches, Midnight mass is held and traditional dishes like ‘fattah’ are eaten.

The Birth Anniversary of Prophet Mohammed celebrates the day on which the founder of Islam was born. Parades are held around the town, and the town is decorated with festoons, streamers and lights. Greetings are also distributed, as well as sweets.

The Pharaonic wedding is an ancient festival which celebrates the ancient Egyptian civilization. During this time, weddings are also held at the Karnak Temple in royal Pharaonic style with the ancient rituals and dresses accompanying the festival.

Abu El Haggag Moulid celebrates the life and times of Abu el Haggag and is devoted to the patron saint of Luxor. There are activities like dancing, racing, music and playing of the drum which are the main highlights of the Moulid.

The Wafaa Al Nil is a festival dedicated to the River Nile since the ancient times. Children participate in painting competitions and there are sessions of poetry, seminars and music concerts during the festival.


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