Christmas in Egypt

As many of you know, Egypt is an Islamic country. Yet Christmas is celebrated every year by its large Coptic Christian population who have been living there for thousands of years. Unlike Catholic Christians, Orthodox Christians in Egypt celebrate Christmas on January 7th.

Why is this so? Well, in many countries around the world Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7th to remember the Birth of Jesus Christ as stated in the Bible. You see, there are two main calendars that Christians follow: the Julian and the Gregorian. The Julian calendar was established throughout Julius Caesar’s reign in 45 BC. The Gregorian was then introduced by Pope Gregory XIII and applied at around 1582. The Gregorian is mostly used as the civil calendar in countries that oblige to it, such as the western nations. Although the Gregorian calendar is mostly accepted around the world today, the majority of Orthodox Churches still use the Julian calendar.

Orthodox Christians take up a high percentage of Christianity in the Egyptian population. Like Eid (the Muslim holiday) and October 6th (what is equivalent to 4th of July in the US), Christmas is normally treated as a public holiday for all Egyptians, Christians and Muslims alike.

The Celebration

Coptics Christian Church

Photograph: Khaled Elfiqi. Egypt's Coptic pope celebrates Christmas with call for unity - Guardian.co.uk (http://bit.ly/christmasinEgypt)

On Christmas Eve, Christians head out to their Churches wearing new and clean clothes. Closing on to midnight, Church bells start to ring signifying the end of the service. Christian families then go home and enjoy a nice meal of ‘Fattah,’ a famous Egyptian food recipe that contains rice, meat, bread, and garlic.

 

 

 

On Christmas morning, Christians visit families and loved ones. A special treat known as ‘Kaik’ is taken with them to greet others with. Kaik is more generally known as the German baked Christmas treat, Lebkuchen.

Photo: Jennifer McGavin "Almond Lebkuchen Cookies" - About.com German Food (http://bit.ly/LebkuchenCookies)

 

Learn more about Christmas in Egypt:

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/christmas.htm

Learn more about Christianity and it’s history in Egypt:

http://www.touregypt.net/chiste0.htm

http://www.touregypt.net/chiste1.htm

http://www.touregypt.net/magazine/christianityinegypt.htm

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/copticchristians.htm

Learn more about Egyptian Food Recipes:

http://www.touregypt.net/recipes/

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/food.htm

 

About Mohammad