Christmas in Egypt is a celebration of selflessness.
While Egypt is not a Christian country, Christmas is still celebrated by hundreds of thousands of Coptic Christians (belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria) that reside in this African nation.
Coptic Christians makeup around 20 percent of the population and celebrate Christmas every year on January 7.
The Christmas date is different than the traditional day of December 25, because it’s based on an ancient Egyptian solar calendar.
Despite a relatively small population of Coptic Christians in Egypt, those that do celebrate do so grandly and with selflessness in mind.
Before Christmas arrives, families and communities will prepare in advance by decorating homes and churches with lights, candles, lamps, nativity scenes and Christmas trees.
Being that Egypt is not exactly the ideal climate to grow pine trees, most Christmas trees are artificial.
Beginning 45 days before Christmas, many Coptic Christians will abstain from all animal products — eggs, meat, cheese, and dairy — essentially becoming vegetarians until Christmas Day.
Some begin their celebration with cruises. There are Nile cruises specifically for Christmas in Egypt.
These cruises feature elaborate meals, festive music, parties, and Christmas decorations to get guests into the holiday spirit.
On Christmas Eve, which takes place in Egypt on January 6, Coptic Christians head to church to celebrate.
There is an extravagant celebration at the Cathedral of Saint Mark in Cairo, which is broadcast all over the world. Bells in the churches ring, meals are enjoyed, and the event is quite a festive one.
|Church in Egypt|
After church, families head home to enjoy a modest meal. It typically consists of soup, meat, and rice.
Sometimes, there will be sweet biscuits, marked with crosses as a symbol of the Christian faith.
The children wait for Santa Claus, known as “Sint Clas” in Egypt, to leave small gifts.
On Christmas Day, people visit their families and friends and children that celebrate Christmas will receive new clothes and small gifts.
It’s common for children to obtain firecrackers and light them off in celebration, despite it being illegal in the country.
The Christmas Day meal consists of peas, beans, dates, figs, and grapes.
For families that can afford it, roast meats are often included, usually meat or fish. People greet each other with “Eid Milad Majid!” which means “Merry Christmas” in Arabic.
Coptic Christian Christmas celebrations are grand, festive, and elaborate, and are enjoyed by hundreds of thousands all over the country of Egypt.
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Main Points About Christmas in Egypt
- Christmas in Egypt is celebrated by Egyptian Christians, who observe a 43-day fast leading up to January 7th, known as Kiahk.
- During Kiahk, they abstain from meat, dairy, and other animal products, adhering to a strict vegan diet.
- On Christmas Eve, families gather for a special midnight mass and a festive feast of traditional Egyptian dishes.
- Children exchange gifts and enjoy the joyful atmosphere.
- Baba Noel, the Egyptian version of Santa Claus, brings gifts to children on Christmas Eve.
- Christmas has become more commercialized recently, with shopping malls and streets adorned with festive decorations and Christmas trees.
- Despite the growing commercialization, Christmas in Egypt remains deeply rooted in its Christian traditions and cultural heritage.
The few Christians in Egypt mostly belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church and celebrate Christmas on January 7th which is the same as the 29th of the Coptic month Khiahk.
Leading up to Christmas, Christians in Egypt fast for 45 days, eating no meat or dairy and before Christmas, all churches and Christian homes are decorated.
In church ceremonies and religious songs, the Coptic language is used. This is the old language of the nation, used before the Arabs came to Egypt.
Word Cloud for Christmas in Egypt
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Egypt. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.