Festivals in Egypt provide an incredible way to explore its rich culture and traditions. No matter your interest – ancient history or folk traditions – there is sure to be an event for everyone here!
Coptic Christmas, Abu Simbel Sun Festival and Leylet En Nuktah festivals in Egypt offer unique and captivating festivals that should not be missed! If you plan on visiting Egypt soon, make sure that you book tickets for these spectacular celebrations early to join in!
Christmas marks the celebration of Christ’s birth and is typically an opportunity for family gatherings and feasting. But in Egypt, Christmas also serves as an opportunity for personal reflection and spiritual growth among Coptic Christians.
Kiahk, the fourth Coptic month on the calendar, brings Christian faithful together for daily worship services throughout both day and evening as well as an observance of a fast that lasts from November 25 to January 6.
Egyptian Christians typically celebrate Coptic Christmas as an opportunity to give thanks and express our joy; gift-giving and sharing are also part of this holiday, along with food distribution to the less fortunate.
Spend the day with family and attend a large Mass at night – as is common in Western cultures – after which families will share meals together and give each other gifts.
Egypt is currently facing the threat of losing the Coptic Christmas tradition as Westernised Christmas celebrations have eclipsed January 7th’s indigenous Christian celebrations in public spaces, potentially marginalising Orthodox Copts within a society that is predominantly Muslim with deep-seated identity politics.
The Sun Festival at Abu Simbel
Twice each year – in February and October – the sun casts its light into Abu Simbel Temple‘s inner sanctuary, lighting three of four statues there and leaving only Ptah, god of darkness, in shadow.
Ancient Egyptians devised this temple so its inner chamber would perfectly align with the sun on two particular dates each year, providing a truly spectacular feat of engineering to witness and marvel at. It truly makes an amazing sight!
At this annual festival, travelers and locals come together to commemorate the event by celebrating with food and music. It’s an unforgettable time at the temple that you won’t soon forget!
Booking in advance will ensure a great experience when visiting one of Egypt’s most striking antiquities, and exploring all its temples – including those dedicated to Ramses II and Nefertari.
Leylet En Nuktah
The Leylet En Nuktah Festival is an important cultural event in Egypt that coincides with the annual Nile flood, celebrating its life-giving force.
Egyptian culture and people come alive during this celebration with picnics along the Nile. It provides an ideal way to learn more about Egyptian traditions while getting acquainted with those living here.
Ancient Egyptian tradition held a festival every 30 years to celebrate and renew their monarch by revitalizing him and assuring that his relationship with gods remained harmonious. Additionally, this was an opportunity to demonstrate physical fitness by running around an enclosed area for demonstration purposes.
Ancient Egyptians revered the Nile River as a deity, and celebrated its power and vitality through ceremonies like Leylet En Nuktah to acknowledge its significance for life and prosperity in Ancient Egypt and modern-day Egypt alike.
Egypt is home to an annual festival called moulid which honors saints who serve as mediators and intercessors before God. It combines spiritual and commercial festivities, with restaurants, sales stalls and Sufi order tents springing up around every corner – creating an event filled with both joyous atmosphere and commercial profiteering.
Festival dates typically align with crop cycles. Some moulids last 10 days while others only take place for a day or two.
On the final night of the festival, crowds are in full force with Sufis and Sheiks parading through the streets performing ritual dances that sway back and forth to the rhythm of drumbeats and tambourines, performing devotional chants as part of their religious ceremonies.
Mawlid, or religious carnival, transcends religion as well as any restrictions placed by governments over time in Egypt. It combines spiritual experience with an uplifting sense of togetherness for an unforgettable event.