In origin, Sham El Nessim (Sniffing the breeze) is an ancient Egyptian religious occasion that marked the beginning of spring.
Sham El Nessim in Arabic means “breathe the breeze”, but this expression widespread in Egypt is actually the translation of an ancient pharaonic word that means: “the rebirth of life” They believe it also marks the beginning of creation.
The holiday of Shamm El Nesim is strongly linked to the concept of life being reborn, and this new Arabic wording that replaced the original Pharaonic name, is due to the fact that Shamm El Nesim happens in spring, when flowers bloom, a sign of rebirth of life from the earth. It is a fragrant life that rises to expand in the air; that’s why among the customs of Shamm El Nesim there is also that of going for a walk to “breathe the breeze” of spring. This makes it a great opportunity to make your Egypt Easter holiday tours to celebrate both and become more familiar with some of the ancient Egyptian customs of the day.
Egypt boasts an interesting historical heritage, very rich and varied as well as an enviable climate, the combination of these factors makes this country the ideal destination for the Easter 2022 holidays, a great time to enjoy the beauty of the country in a mild and temperate climate. Perhaps you would never have guessed, but Egypt also knows this holiday, which is celebrated religiously by Coptic Christians, but not only the country of the ancient Egyptians hosts almost concurrently a festival dedicated to spring, is called Sham el-Nessim, and in it would seem to find the roots of the current Christian Easter “Coptic easter in Egypt“
Already the ancient Egyptians offered salted fish, lettuce and onions to their deities during the spring festival known as Shemu. After the Christianization of Egypt, the feast became associated with Easter because it also fell in the spring. With the Islamic conquest of Egypt, the festival was established on Easter Monday. Since the Islamic calendar is lunar and therefore not fixed with respect to the solar year, the date of Sham el-Nessim remained the one associated with Christianity. The term Shemu was then adapted to Arabic as Sham el-Nessim, meaning “Smell in the zephyrs”.
Before Easter, for Palm Sunday you may notice around the city worshippers sporting beautiful palms woven with great skill.
The Coptic Easter in Egypt celebrations begin on Saturday evening with a ceremony that includes the reading of the psalm, the singing of sacred hymns and the infusion of incense.
During the ceremony, all the lights are turned off and turned back on only at the moment when the resurrection is commemorated. During Easter Sunday, worshippers go to church, visit relatives, exchange gifts, and have nice outdoor picnics in the city’s most beautiful parks, which are filled with festivity during this time.
The festival Easter in Egypt always falls after Orthodox Easter, on a Monday, and is celebrated indifferently by both Christians and Muslims as a national holiday, rather than a religious holiday.
In the calendar of Egyptian public holidays, Muslim, national and Coptic holidays are combined… but also, Sham el-Nassim, the Spring Festival, of Pharaonic origin, which is one of the most unanimously respected public holidays in the country. Coptic holidays are calculated according to the Gregorian calendar, Muslim holidays according to the lunar calendar. This is why the latter vary each year by about ten days: they have the particularity of not being seasonal.
Easter in Egypt 2022, on Monday, April 18.
Traditional foods for this holiday include the ever-present fesikh (fermented mullet), hard-boiled eggs, lettuce and malana, a green leafy vegetable.
what is Fesikh is to be precise salted, dried and fermented gray mullet preserved in pickles, Egyptians eat it for good luck, it is also a symbol of fertility which should be fostered by its consumption. In ancient times, offering this fish to the deities, according to tradition, would ensure a good harvest. The process of preparing fesikh is quite elaborate, and is handed down from father to son in some families, it is interesting to know that the processing of this traditional food has created a real tradition, a craft, which in Egypt is known as “fasakhani”. During the process, the fish meat is allowed to rest for a few months before being consumed. This tradition is however getting lost and many people have started to use white fish meat, both because of the strong smell of this product, not easy to bear for everyone, and as an alternative considered more modern.
This can only be done by Egyptians and is not recommended at all for non-Egyptians. This type of fish is not good for your health.
The ever-present hard-boiled eggs are painted with tempera and dried in the sun before being eaten. Some of them are real masterpieces. Egg coloring has remained a very common Easter celebration in Egypt as well as in the rest of the world of course.
Since you are on your Easter holiday in Egypt on this occasion, you should buy yourself a basket of eggs and colors. Colored eggs is the main breakfast of the day which became the main joy of the day to color and shape the eggs.
Here are some tips to enjoy your Egypt Easter holiday on this wonderful occasion.
Egyptians celebrate this occasion outdoors to enjoy the good weather of spring. That’s why parks, public gardens, Nile River cruise, or the red sea are the best places to celebrate Sham El Nessim day during your Egypt Easter holiday.
Nile river cruise on Egypt Easter holiday deals is highly recommended on this day. You can take a Nile cruise for 3 or 4 nights as part of a tour package during Easter. There is nothing compared to the Nile with the traditional food associated with Easter. Relax in the sun with little wind and the cool breeze of the Nile. That will make you feel the ancient oriental traditional way of celebrating this occasion. You can see people on the banks of the Nile sitting eating and celebrating with their families.
Two of the most beautiful places for diving and snorkeling and all kinds of water sports and activities.
If you want to check out our Egypt Easter holiday tours, you can book among Egypt Easter holiday deals 2022, But note that we have not only packages for a vacation to Egypt but also Egypt New Year and Christmas in Egypt.