Local Events and Festivals Tips for US Citizens Traveling to Egypt

What major events or festivals are happening in Egypt during my visit?

1. The Cairo International Film Festival (8-17 November 2020)
2. The Red Sea Jazz Festival (20-21 November 2020)
3. The Gouna Film Festival (19-26 December 2020)
4. The Luxor International Film Festival (22-27 December 2020)
5. The Cairo Shopping Festival (January 2021)
6. Luxor Karnak Sound & Light Show (all year round)
7. The Nile’s Great Inundation Festival (August 2021)
8. Sinai’s Bedouin Cultural Festival (October 2021)
9. The Assiut International Camel Festival (November 2021)
10. The Cairo International Book Fair (December 2021)

Are there any specific cultural or religious festivals that I should be aware of in Egypt?

Yes, there are many cultural and religious festivals celebrated in Egypt. The most important festivals are Ramadan (the Islamic holy month of fasting), Eid Al-Fitr (the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan), Sham El Nessim (a spring festival that marks the start of the ancient Egyptian calendar), Coptic Christmas (celebrated on January 7th by the Coptic Christian minority), and Coptic Easter (celebrated in April by the Coptic Christian minority). Other important festivals include Sham El Naseem (a spring festival celebrating the revival of nature), Mawlid al-Nabi (the birth of the Prophet Muhammad), and Sha’abiya (a folk festival celebrated in Upper Egypt).

How can I find information about local events and festivals before arriving in Egypt?

There are a few ways to find information about local events and festivals before arriving in Egypt. You can search online for websites and forums related to Egypt that list upcoming events and festivals. You can also contact the Egypt Tourism Authority or your local Egyptian Embassy to inquire about upcoming events. Additionally, check with your hotel or accommodation before you arrive to see if they have any suggestions about local events and festivals. Finally, if you are traveling with a tour operator, they may be able to provide information about upcoming events and festivals in the area.

Are there any traditional celebrations or ceremonies that tourists are welcome to participate in Egypt?

Yes, tourists are welcome to participate in traditional celebrations and ceremonies in Egypt. There are a number of cultural festivals throughout the year, including El Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), Ramadan, El Israa (Prophet’s Ascension Day), and Sham El Nessim (Spring Festival). Other ceremonies include weddings, births, and funerals. Tourists may also be invited to attend Coptic Christian and Muslim festivals, as well as folkloric performances, such as the Sufi Whirling Dance.

What are the dates for the most popular annual events in Egypt?

1. Coptic Christmas: January 7
2. Sham El Nessim: April 25
3. Ramadan: May 5-June 4
4. Eid al-Fitr: June 4-5
5. Islamic New Year: August 31
6. Sinai Liberation Day: October 6
7. Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday: November 10
8. Coptic New Year: November 11
9. Egyptian National Day: July 23

Are there any special events or festivals that showcase the local cuisine in Egypt?

Yes! There are several food festivals in Egypt that showcase the local cuisine. Some of the most popular festivals include the Cairo International Food Festival, Sohag International Festival for Food, Aswan International Festival for Food, and the Luxor International Food Festival. Additionally, many of Egypt’s most popular restaurants and hotels host special events that offer a unique experience to sample the local cuisine.

What is the best way to purchase tickets or gain access to ticketed events in Egypt?

The best way to purchase tickets or gain access to ticketed events in Egypt is through a trusted third-party ticketing website or service. Major event ticketing websites such as Eventim, Ticketmaster, and Ticket Egypt offer tickets for events in Egypt. It is best to purchase tickets through these services to ensure the validity and security of the ticket. Additionally, tickets can be purchased directly from the venue or promoter hosting the event.

Are there any specific customs or etiquette I should observe when attending local events or festivals in Egypt?

1. Respect local traditions and religious beliefs. Avoid any disrespectful behavior, including wearing skimpy clothing in public places, speaking loudly, and using offensive language.

2. Be aware that certain public displays of affection, such as kissing or holding hands, may not be accepted in some areas.

3. When attending local events or festivals, make sure to dress modestly and appropriately.

4. It is considered polite to bring a small gift when attending a local festival or event in Egypt. This could be something like candy, cookies, or even a small souvenir from your home country.

5. It is important to bring small change to festivals and events in Egypt, as it is usually necessary to pay for small items such as food or souvenirs.

6. When taking photos of locals or monuments, always ask permission first and respect any requests for you not to take pictures of certain people or places.

What are the safety considerations for attending large public gatherings in Egypt?

1. Avoid non-essential travel to large public gatherings.
2. Monitor the local media for reports of any security threats or incidents.
3. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and do not leave personal belongings unattended.
4. Wear conservative clothing, particularly when visiting religious sites.
5. Respect local customs and traditions, including religious customs.
6. Be aware of your surroundings and who is around you at all times.
7. Avoid taking photographs or videos of military or government buildings or personnel.
8. Stay in well-lit and populated areas when traveling at night, and keep your hotel room door locked when alone or sleeping.
9. Do not discuss politics in public or with strangers.
10. Carry a photocopy of your passport and other important documents in case of loss or theft.

Are there family-friendly events or festivals that would be suitable for children in Egypt?

Yes, there are several family-friendly events and festivals that would be suitable for children in Egypt. These include the International Children’s Festival in Alexandria, the Spring Festival in Cairo, the Cairo International Book Fair in Cairo, the Luxor International Balloon Festival, and the Sondos Festival in Hurghada. Additionally, there are a variety of carnivals and festivals that take place throughout Egypt throughout the year such as the El-Gouna Beach Carnival and the Jazira Festival in Luxor.

Can I expect any street parades, live music, or cultural performances during my visit to Egypt?

Yes, you can expect to see some street parades, live music, and cultural performances during your visit to Egypt. Many cities in Egypt have regular events featuring traditional music and dancing, theatrical performances, parades, and more. The best time to go is during the summer months when the weather is warm enough to enjoy these outdoor activities. Some popular events that you may want to check out include the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre, Luxor International Festival of Music and Dance, and the Aswan International Festival of Traditional Music.

How do locals usually dress for special events and festivals, and is there any recommended attire for tourists?

It depends on the event or festival, but generally speaking, locals dress up for special events and festivals. For example, for more formal events like weddings, women may wear dresses or skirts, while men often wear suits. For festivals and more casual events, locals may dress more casually but still put effort into their outfits. For tourists attending a festival or special event, it is best to be respectful of the local culture and dress appropriately. Generally, this means wearing clothes that are not too revealing and avoiding offensive prints or slogans.

What are some unique or lesser-known festivals that are worth attending in Egypt?

1. The Feast of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha): This is one of the most important religious festivals in Egypt, celebrated by Muslims to commemorate Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice.

2. The Festival of Lights (Festival of the Virgin Mary): Held annually in Cairo since the 18th century, this festival celebrates the miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary. The festival includes religious processions, light shows, and music.

3. Kamilia Festival: Held in Midan Kamilia Square in Cairo, this festival is a celebration of African culture and music. It includes performances from some of Egypt’s best African musicians, dancers, and artisans.

4. Mawlid an-Nabi: Celebrated on the 12th day of Rabi al-Awwal (the third month of the Islamic calendar), this festival commemorates the birth of Prophet Muhammad. It includes singing, processions, and fireworks.

5. Gurna Festival: This is an annual festival held in Gurna, Luxor and features cultural performances from all over Egypt, including masked dancers and theatrical performances.

6. International Spring Festival: Held in April each year in Alexandria, this multicultural festival includes art exhibitions, musical performances, traditional dances, and other activities.

Are there any specific events or festivals that celebrate the history and heritage of Egypt?

Yes, there are several events and festivals that celebrate the history and heritage of Egypt. These include the International Day of Ancient Egyptian Culture (August 23); Feast of the Sacrifice (Eid Al-Adha); the Cairo International Film Festival; the International Pharaohs Rally; and the Luxor International Festival of Culture. Additionally, many towns and cities throughout Egypt host their own local heritage festivals that celebrate traditional customs and culture.

How can I learn about local customs and traditions associated with the events and festivals in Egypt?

1. Read books and articles on the history of Egyptian festivals and events.
2. Watch documentaries about Egyptian festivals and events.
3. Attend one of the many festivals or events that take place in Egypt, such as Ramadan or the Coptic Christmas.
4. Visit a museum or cultural centre in Egypt to learn more about the local customs and traditions associated with the festivals and events.
5. Explore online resources dedicated to Egyptian culture and customs, such as websites, blogs, and social media accounts.
6. Talk to locals who may have more insights into local customs and traditions related to the events and festivals in Egypt.

Are there any events or festivals that offer a chance to interact with local artisans, craftsmen, or artists in Egypt?

Yes, there are several events and festivals that offer a chance to interact with local artisans, craftsmen, and artists in Egypt. These include:

1. Cairo International Festival of Contemporary and Outsider Art: This festival brings together a variety of artists from around the world, with a focus on contemporary art and outsider art from Egypt.

2. Luxor International Festival of Folklore Arts and Crafts: This annual event celebrates traditional Egyptian culture through music, dance, theatre, and visual arts. It also includes displays of traditional crafts and an opportunity to purchase unique handmade items from local artisans.

3. Siwa Oasis Festival: This event takes place in the remote Siwa Oasis and features traditional music, dance, storytelling, traditional craft demonstrations, and an exhibition of local artisanal products.

4. Aswan International Festival of Art and Culture: This annual festival celebrates the traditional art and culture of Upper Egypt through lectures, workshops, music, theatre, film screenings, and an exhibition of local crafts.

5. Gouna Film Festival: This annual event celebrates independent cinema from around the world with a focus on Arab cinema. It also includes networking opportunities with local filmmakers and special events with local artists and craftsmen.

What transportation options are available during major events to avoid traffic or parking issues in Egypt?

1. Shared Taxis (Uber, Careem, etc.): This is a quick and economical option for getting around during major events. The taxi can be shared with a few other people which can help to reduce the cost significantly.

2. Metro: The Egyptian metro network is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to avoid traffic or parking issues during major events.

3. Buses: City buses are another reliable option for getting around during major events. They are usually much cheaper than taxis and often have more direct routes than metro lines.

4. Bicycles: Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Egypt as a way to avoid traffic and parking issues. You can rent a bicycle for relatively cheap prices, or you can bring your own bike.

Can I participate in any community service or volunteer opportunities associated with local events or festivals in Egypt?

Yes, you can participate in various community service and volunteer opportunities associated with local events and festivals in Egypt. Many organizations offer the opportunity for volunteers to help in different ways, such as providing food and other essential services. You can also work with the UNDP, local NGOs, or other organizations to provide medical and educational services to underserved communities. Additionally, there are opportunities to volunteer at music and art festivals, carnivals, and local celebrations.

What are some recommended local spots or venues to get a true sense of the atmosphere during events in Egypt?

1. Cairo Citadel: Located in the heart of Cairo, the Citadel is an ancient fortification built in 1176. It is famous for its spectacular views and for hosting amazing events like the annual Citadel Sound and Light Show.

2. Giza Pyramids: One of the seven wonders of the world, the pyramids of Giza are a must-visit for those eager to experience the atmosphere of Egypt. Every day, there are sound and light shows as well as camel rides around the area.

3. Luxor Temple: The Luxor Temple is an ancient temple complex that dates back to 1400 BCE. It is great for experiencing various traditional ceremonies and events such as festivals, music and dance performances, and much more.

4. Khan el Khalili Bazaar: Located in the heart of Old Cairo, the Khan el Khalili Bazaar is an iconic shopping destination that has been operating since 1260. Here you can find a variety of traditional Egyptian souvenirs, food, and spices, as well as experience various events such as folkloric performances.

5. El Alamein War Museum: Located on the western coast of Egypt, the El Alamein War Museum commemorates the battles that took place during WWII in North Africa. It hosts several annual events such as lectures, concerts, and theatrical performances dedicated to World War II history.

Are there any events or festivals that coincide with public holidays in Egypt, and how might this affect my travel plans?

Yes, there are a number of events and festivals that coincide with public holidays in Egypt. The most prominent of these are the Prophet’s Birthday, Coptic Christmas, Coptic Easter, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha. These holidays often involve large celebrations in cities across Egypt, including parades, processions, and fireworks. As such, travelers should expect an increase in traffic and crowds on the dates of these holidays and should plan accordingly. Additionally, some attractions may be closed on certain holidays so travelers should check the opening hours before planning their visit.