Egypt Culture Part I


Egypt has a long cultural and civilizational history, witnesses of which can be seen as historical landmarks, architectural buildings, in museums and in the streetscape across the country. Information on the diverse artistic and social aspects of the various historical epochs can be found quickly in the following bookshops:

  • Bookstores of the American University in Cairo (AUC), which publishes a large number of publications
  • Bookstore Shorouq
  • DIWAN bookstore
  • On an interesting website you can explore the Giza Plateau with the great pyramids online in three dimensions.

Numerous cultural events and cultural festivals take place in Egypt. Current information about these events can be found on the following websites:

  • Cairo Opera
  • The papyrus magazine
  • Cairo360

Background information on the current art and culture scene in Egypt as well as portraits of artists, writers etc. can be found in the culture section of English-language newspapers and magazines. TacheArt Gallery specializes in the modern visual arts scene. The websites allevents.in and Cairo Live Events Guide provide information on current cultural and other events, festivals and venues.

The art and culture scene in Egypt

Cairo International Book Fair

Film industry

According to oxfordastronomy, the Egyptians are film and cinema fans. Egyptians are also among the early pioneers of cinema. For many years the country was among the five largest film producers in the world. Older films by the big stars of the time are still popular and are still shown regularly on television today. Some of the old film studios still exist today. Most of them serve other purposes.

Some important film festivals are:

  • The Cairo International Film Festival (since 1976), organized by the Egyptian Association of Film Critics until 1983, since then by the Ministry of Culture.
  • Alexandria International Film Festival – always in August (since 1979), organized by the Ministry of Culture.
  • Ismailiya International Documentary Film Festival organized by the Ministry of Culture.

Book fairs

  • International Cairo Book Fair (January or February), two weeks at the exhibition center in Cairo, accompanying program with many cultural and political events
  • Alexandria International Book Fair (July or August)

Music and culture festivals

  • All events in Egypt
  • Cairo International Jazz Festival (no fixed dates)
  • Cairo’s top 10 festivals

Other festivals

  • International Festival of Experimental Theater
  • Ismailia Festival of Fine Arts

Background information on the current art and culture scene in Egypt as well as portraits of artists, writers etc. can be found in the culture section of English-language newspapers and magazines. Tache Art Gallery specializes in the modern visual arts scene. The websites allevents.in and Cairo Live Events Guide provide information on current cultural and other events, festivals and venues.

In addition, there are many festivals that are held irregularly or once by NGOs or international cultural centers and institutes. The cultural and youth centers also offer cultural events and activities. Popular activities include training children in modernized forms of traditional dances. The Ministry of Culture holds a public national competition and festivals for these groups every year.

Folk culture, festivals and celebrations

Most of the festivals in Egypt go back to religious or even Pharaonic holidays. They are usually celebrated with colorful traditions and special dishes. Secular national festivals, on the other hand, are welcome holidays, but are usually celebrated with family visits or excursions without special traditions. The main celebrations of folk tradition are as follows:

Sham El Nessim – the spring festival

Sham El Nessim means “to sniff the spring air” and is an old festival to welcome spring that goes back to Pharaonic times. The Egyptians color eggs as a symbol of fertility like in Europe at Easter. The egg coloring tradition probably came to Europe through the spread of the Christian churches. In addition, the Egyptians picnic in parks, on the Nile or on the grass verges between the opposite lanes of the major roads. “Fisih”, “ringa” or “mulukha” are eaten, fish pickled in salt and / or smoked – also an old symbol of fertility.

Subua ‘ – the celebration of the birth of a child

Subua ‘also goes back to pharaonic traditions. It is a children’s festival and is celebrated on the seventh day after a child is born. As in all Semitic cultures, the number seven is a protective number and plays a major role for Subua ‘. At a Subua ‘festival, seven different types of grain are ground in a mortar and then scattered to signal the baby’s feelings of joy and responsibility from his relatives. Then the baby is placed on a blanket over a large tray and next to it clay figures with a candle – an “abrik” for a boy, an “ulla” for a girl – are placed. The rest of the ground grain is sprinkled around it. One after the other, the guests beat rhythms with a metal pestle and mortar and inform the baby, To whom it should listen and whom it should take as role models. After everyone has stepped over the baby seven times to certain rhythms, Subua ‘songs are sung and played and the guests dance with the children. Everyone receives sweets wrapped in tulle and colorful bows as gifts.

 

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