Christmas in Egypt : Christmas in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez

Egypt is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia via a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula.

Egypt is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.

Christmas in Egypt

Christmas Celebrations in Egypt :

About half of Egypt’s residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta. In Egypt, Copts, who are Egypt’s traditional Christians, have their own Pope who is the head of the Coptic churches of Egypt and the Sudan. Copts consider St. Mark to be their first Pope.

The Coptic Church is an Orthodox Church and in the Coptic Church Christmas is celebrated on the 7th January. In Egypt about 15% of people are Christians. They are the only part of the population who really celebrate Christmas. Most Egyptian Christians belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church and they have some very unique traditions for Christmas. Most Egyptians today are Muslims therefore they do not celebrate Christmas as such although they do commemorate the birth of Jesus, but they celebrate the festivals Eid – ul – Fitr and Eid – Ul – Adha.

For the 40 days before Christmas Coptic Orthodox Christians fast i.e. ‘The Holy Nativity Fast’. They may eat normally, but the type of food that is consumed is limited to non-animal products. Therefore, meat, fish, eggs and milk are forbidden The fast leading up to Christmas is called “lent fasting”, and traditionally lasts for 43 days, celebrating the forty days of fast Moses endured while receiving the Ten Commandments and the three days of fast associated with the miracle of moving the mountain of El Mokattam, a purely Egyptian event. The Coptic month leading to Christmas is called Kiahk or kiohk or Khiahk.

Christmas in Egypt

On Christmas Eve, Egyptians go to church wearing new clothes and Mass goes on until midnight. At the end of the service people go home after they receive the special bread called ‘qurban’. This bread has a Holy Cross in the middle and 12 dots to represent the 12 apostles. Then they eat a special Christmas meal at home called ‘Fata’. This meal uses bread, rice, garlic and boiled meat as its main constituents. Children are given El ‘aidia, a feast gift consisting of a small sum of money to buy sweets, toys and ice cream.

On Christmas morning people in Egypt visit friends and neighbors. They take with them kaik which is a type of shortbread and eaten with a drink known as shortbat. Christmas Day is a public holiday for Christians.

In Egypt, Santa is called Baba Noël (meaning Father Christmas).

On can expect the biggest Christmas Celebrations in Egypt taking place in Cairo the Capital and the largest city of Egypt. Apart from that notable Christmas Celebrations also take place in bigger cities and towns of Egypt like Alexandria, Gizeh, Shubra El-Kheima, Port Said, Suez, Luxor, al-Mansura, etc

Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!