8 Egyptian Celebrations Where Food Steals The Show

We Egyptians are without doubt one of the most foodies in the world -prove me wrong-, when we travel to the North Coast or Alexandria a stop at Wa7et 3omar is a goes-without-saying, to have Fetir Meshaltet, and if not traveling with family a sharwet Fetir to bring back home is a must, we don’t mind driving all the way even if at 1 A.M. to devour Molokheya, Kebda and Wara2et La7ma from Kebdet El-Brens, or going to Alexandria for the sake of an Aklet Samak w Gambari taza from Abou Ashraf or Balba3, then use Jilaty 3azza or Fetir with honey & cream as a digestive. (Below photo of Fetir Meshaltet by IDip)

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ِAs Ramadan is around the corner, we can hardly wait for the Konafa with mangoes, or 2atayef with Nutella. Mmm…Is it just a Ramadan-ish thought? Hell no! If you give a deep thought about Egypt’s main occasions, and how they are celebrated, you will find out that they more or less end up being around food. (Below photo of Konafa by Danielle Tsi)

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Sham El Nessim (Easter)

Probably one of the oldest occasions celebrated till today. Ancient Egyptians marked the date as the beginning of Spring, which was related to agriculture, and fertility, but after the Christianization of Egypt the festival became associated with the Christian spring festival of Easter, and is since then celebrated by all Egyptians regardless their religion or belief on the Monday following it. Ancient Egyptians used to celebrate the festival by including Salted Fish -Fesikh, Renga & Melou7a-, lettuce, onions, and ful 7eraty to their diet, and this is how we celebrate it till this date :). (Photo by: www.almasryalyoum.com and video by: assemnour’s channel)

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Ramadan

Other than being the most significant, and holiest month for Muslims, it is the biggest Egyptian food fiesta, housewives put so much effort, all their expertise to produce the best recipes. Apart from traditional oriental desserts, and those specially made in Ramadan namely 2atayef -pancakes-, & khoshaf in recent years it has become “the hottest season” for dessert creations; Konafa with mangoes or dates, Konafa with Nutella, Basbousa with Red Velvet cake and some konafa sprinkled on top, Konafa tart with dates and caramel, 2atayef with Nutella, Om Ali with Creme Brulee…got the munchies? (Photo below of 2atayef by: www.hawaalive.com)

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Eid-El-Fitr

As if we have’t already eaten enough desserts in Ramadan!!! Eid-el-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, which we usually celebrate by eating ka7k -Eid cookies- with tea for breakfast on the Eid morning. In reality this never happens, we actually buy ka7k at least 10 days in advance, get 1/4 kilo from this sweets shop, 1/8 from this bakery around the corner until we get our hands on the best ka7k in town to have it for breakfast on the Eid morning, and maybe don’t stop eating it for another 10 days if not more. (Photo below of ka7k: www.elwatannews.com)

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Eid-El-Adha

Another event with a huge religious significance, this is the second biggest event celebrated by muslims worldwide each year, it honors Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of submission to God’s command, when Prophet Ibrahim was about to slaughter his son God saved Ismail and ordered to substitute him with a sheep instead. Ever since God commanded that the slaughtered animal would be divided into three part 1/3 for the poor and the needy, 1/3 for the family and neighbors, and 1/3 for those who bought the animal. During Eid-El-Adha, the freshly slaughtered meat and kebda (liver) -along with other weird parts of the animal that in my opinion shouldn’t be eaten- are cooked, and Fattah is made with La7ma Dani -lamb chops- to be eaten once ready at whichever time of the day it is. (Below photo of Fattah with La7ma Dani by www.fatafeat.com)

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Mouled El-Nabi (Prophet Muhammad’s Birth)

And now, did you believe me when I said that Egyptian occasion are all about food? Even the birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) -on 12th of Rabi3 2 of the Hijri year- is celebrated with specially made 7alawet el mouled that is only found in Egypt, nowhere else -there is 7alawet el mouled in other parts of the world, but not specially made for the mouled and not as good unless we are talking about Syrian & Lebanese delicacies-7omosseya, fouleya, gazareya, ladida, malban, semsemya, goz hend, nougat with amar el din…yummi! (Below photo of 7alawet el mouled by: www.almasryalyoum.com)

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Tassou3a and 3ashoura

The 9th and 10th of Moharram is a special day in the Hijri calendar, there are many stories behind its significance, one of them is that this is when Prophet Moses fasted to thank God for saving him and his people from Pharaoh and his army by drowning them in the Red Sea. We celebrate it by home-making and eating 3ashoura -a dessert that is made of wheat, milk, sugar, starch, zebib, and whole skinless almonds and pistachios sprinkled on top. What’s the relation between 3ashoura and the occasion??? No idea…(Photo courtesy: google.com)

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Eid El-Ghetass (Epiphany)

Probably not the cutest way to convince a child to eat colocasia, or sugar cane, we all heard the famous Egyptian say: “Eli mayakolsh 2ol2as fel ghatass yesba7 men gher ras”, or “Eli fel ghatass maymossesh 2assab yesba7 men gher 3assab”. Eid El-Ghetass commemorates Jesus’ Baptism -January 19th-, and is celebrated by all Egyptians ever since ancient times. Why was it called Ghetass -derived from ghatss? and why sugar cane, and colocasia? Because baptism basically involves contact with sacred water, as for colocasia and sugar cane some versions say it’s because this is their harvest time, and others say that they have a special significance in Christianity believing that colocassia has a poisonous substance that once mixed with water it’s gone just like how water cleanse a person from his sins, and sugar cane is filled with water and sugar giving the eater the sweetness of forgiveness. (Photo of colocassia: botagaz.com)
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Islamic New Year

A new year means a new beginning, and a refreshing start, that’s why we celebrate it by eating any dessert that is white colored “3ashan teb2a sana beida :)” be it Mehalabeya, or Roz Belaban -Rice Pudding. (Below photo of Roz Belaban by www.youtube.com)

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Got any stories regarding the link between the occasion, and the food? Know of any other Egyptian occasions where food steals the show? Let us know in the comments below…

Our Readers Comments

  1. Great blog, reminds me of my childhood in Egypt, we were celebrating any feast with anybody.
    We just wanted to have great time.
    I have to admit, the details of Eid Elghatas was new for me.
    Probably I just devored the colcase without thinking as it was well made by our neighbours…

    • I am glad :), thank you @Ibrahim
      Lots of info were new for me as well, and yeah specially for Eid El Ghetas 😀

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