The Muslim holy month of Ramadan has great solemnity worldwide, but Ramadan in Egypt is exceptional. At a time of special reverence and devotion, the Egyptians take advantage of this sacred month to deepen their faith, reflect on their spirituality, and work to better their character.
Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, and Ramadan in Egypt brings a flurry of festivities and celebrations that draw in tourists and locals alike. Egyptian Ramadan is a season of great joy and celebration, and the country’s bustling marketplaces and bright decorations further add to the experience.
What is Ramadan Spirit in Egypt?
Muslim communities worldwide maintain a daytime fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. All able-bodied Muslims above eighteen is required by Islamic law to participate in the month-long fasting practice of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is characterized by daily fasting from dawn till sunset. During the daytime fast, Muslims in Ramadan abstain from all food, drink, and other forms of luxury.
Several important ceremonies occur in Egypt over Ramadan because it is a sacred period for Muslims. In Egypt, Ramadan is a time of fasting, reflection, and giving to others and family gatherings.
Egyptians observe the holy month of Ramadan with great enthusiasm and various customs and traditions. Preparation for Ramadan begins weeks in advance in Egypt, with deep cleaning of homes, shopping for additional food and clothing, and gifting new dresses and shoes to children.
The streets are decorated with lights and banners proclaiming the arrival of Ramadan, and everyone is counting down the days until the first of the holy month.
Giving to others is highly recommended as part of the Ramadan tradition in Egypt. Many individuals donate money to assist the less fortunate, and organizations set up street tents and tables to distribute food. Being a practice with deep roots in Islamic culture, giving during Ramadan is a great way to show gratitude for one’s blessings and to share joy.
The holy month of Ramadan brings out the best in Egyptians regarding giving to the less fortunate. Charities receive funding from many benevolent donors who use it to provide food and other basics to the impoverished and underprivileged. Families with modest incomes also receive food baskets from the government.
In recent years, Ramadan has become increasingly commercialized in Egypt, with advertisements and television shows increasingly featuring Ramadan-themed episodes. Despite this, the month’s traditional practices and values remain actively respected, with families and communities coming together to celebrate Ramadan’s religious and social aspects.
Ramadan in Egypt Traditions & Celebrations
1. Fanous Ramadan (Ramadan Lantern)
During Ramadan in Egypt, you can’t go anywhere or stroll through a neighborhood without seeing magnificent lanterns illuminating homes and streets. Egyptian families have maintained this practice and passed it down over the years. Typically, a copper lantern with brightly colored pictures lights the way at night.
Though its etymology is shrouded in mystery, it can be traced back to Fatimid Egypt. Al Muiz Li Din Allah is said to have been welcomed to Egypt by its citizens who carried identical lanterns to mark his arrival, according to the most widely-known account. At the time, it was the middle of the holy month of Ramadan, and lanterns were still used to illuminate the streets at night. As a result of that incident, people began associating Ramadan with lanterns lit by candles.
2. The Colorful Decoration and Trimmings
In addition to the lanterns, the streets are often decorated with lights and decorations throughout Ramadan. The “khayamiya” design is also commonly seen on pillows and tablecloths used during the holy month of Ramadan.
3. Iftar Cannon
The Egyptian tradition of sounding a cannon blast just before the call to Maghrib prayers to signal the end of the fast has continued for many years. There are several legends about the tradition’s origin, but all agree that it was first practiced at the Saladin Citadel in Cairo before spreading to other Muslim countries.
4. Egyptian Iftar in Ramadan
Ramadan’s Iftar is the evening meal that signals the conclusion of the fast after sunset. Upon the end of the fast, family and friends gather for a feast of dates, water, soup, and other goodies.
During Ramadan in Egypt, Egyptians prepare unique dishes to honor the country’s long and illustrious culinary tradition.
The traditional Egyptian Iftar in Ramadan may contain “Mahshi, Sambousek, Hamam Mahshi, Fattah, or Koshary.” with various Egyptian Ramadan drinks “Qamar El Din, Tamr Hendi, Karkadeh, Erk Sous, Sobia, Doum, Kharoub, or Khoshaf.”
Learn more about Traditional Egyptian Food and Drinks.
5. Egyptian Ramadan Desserts
As part of Egypt’s rich culinary heritage, street vendors sell traditional sweets and drinks during Ramadan. One of the most beloved sweets eaten during Ramadan is konafa, a pastry made of shredded phyllo dough filled with cream and syrup. This sweet treat is a staple at any traditional Egyptian Iftar and will surely win over your guests’ hearts.
Qatayef, or Katayef, is made of semolina yeast pancakes filled with almond cream. You can also find the traditional dessert Qatayef on menus everywhere during Ramadan in Egypt.
Basbousa is a Middle Eastern dessert usually made with walnuts, syrup, and cream. Start by soaking semolina or flour in syrup. Then, press the batter into a pan and bake it at a high temperature.
As an Egyptian dessert, baklava’s popularity has gone through the roof. Nuts, usually almonds, walnuts, or pistachios, are chopped and put between layers of phyllo dough that have been sweetened with syrup or honey.
6. Egyptian Suhoor (Ramadan nights)
Egyptian Suhoor has a unique flavor. Egyptian Suhoor is a communal meal shared by family and friends and typically comprises Ful Medames, Egyptian falafel, fries, eggs, yogurt, and various kinds of cheese. Suhoor is eaten in one of Egypt’s most well-known restaurants or unique Ramadan tents where locals may enjoy the festive atmosphere of the holy month.
When discussing Suhoor, The word Mesaharati comes from Suhoor. When people went to bed early, they needed to be woken up to eat Suhoor to be ready to fast in the morning. Mesaharati is the name for this type of individual responsible for waking them up. An elderly guy would stroll the streets of every community, banging on a portable drum in an enticing rhythm to wake up the sleepy residents. Although not as widespread as it once was due to technological advances and the proliferation of alarm systems, this Fatimid-era custom is practiced in some Egyptian communities today.
8. Taraweeh Prayer in Egypt
Throughout this holy month, people are also urged to meditate and pray. In Egypt, Ramadan would only be complete with the Taraweeh prayer. Taraweeh is a congregational prayer performed by Muslims after the Isha prayer only in Ramadan. Egyptian Muslims feel a deep sense of brotherhood and community as they perform Taraweeh in mosques throughout the country. There is a relaxing recitation of the Quran, and lights and carpets decorate the interiors of the mosques, distinguished by colored lights and lanterns.
The last ten days of Ramadan are considered the holiest for Egyptians and are dedicated to intense prayer and reflection. Many people, especially in the final ten days of Ramadan, pray and seek Allah for forgiveness late into the night.
Egyptians commemorate their storied past this month via all rituals, from fasting and prayer to traditional banquets. The Egyptian people continue to place religious and cultural significance on Ramadan.
9. Celebrating Eid Al-Fitr
Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of the month-long fast. Traditional Egyptian dishes and desserts such as Feteer Meshaltet, Kahk, and more are served at Eid celebrations, and gifts are exchanged among loved ones.
Top Insights of Ramadan in Egypt
- Ramadan is a time for gathering with loved ones. You should always take advantage of an iftar if you are fortunate enough to know an Egyptian family.
- Visitors to Cairo during Ramadan should abstain from eating, drinking, chewing gum, and smoking in public.
- Delicious iftar and other meals are available in restaurants in Cairo at the appropriate hours. Restaurants should be empty during iftar so that Muslims who have been fasting can eat in peace.
- Careful attention to one’s appearance before venturing out is also advised. Wearing clothes that cover most of the body is appropriate.
- Traveling to Egypt’s coastal cities during the holy month of Ramadan is a great idea. In addition to avoiding the crowds, you’ll save a tonne of money by visiting during this time. On the other hand, take advantage of Cairo’s Ramadan festivities!
- But, if your trip to Egypt includes the three-day Eid Al-Fitr celebration at the end of Ramadan, consider visiting a coastal town. Because of the increased demand and higher prices, many domestic tourists avoided Cairo during these times.
- During Ramadan, it is against the law to sell or serve alcohol in any form. As a result, you’ll have a tough time obtaining any alcoholic beverage during your visit. Yet, on the bright side, you’ll get to sample several traditional Ramadan drinks.
- Modified work schedules exist. Work shifts are typically shorter during Ramadan so employees can get home in time for iftar. Other than eating establishments, most businesses close for Iftar, only to reopen an hour or two later.
Places to Visit During Ramadan
Cairo is the epicenter of Ramadan celebrations in Egypt and a great site to join in the fun. Fanoos can be seen as decorations throughout the city. Egypt Nile Cruise in Cairo could be a perfect choice to enjoy the Ramadan spirit in Egypt.
- You can enter Ramadan’s spirit in El Muizz street and Khan El Khalili Bazaar, great places to pick up souvenirs and Ramadan-themed decorations like lights and lanterns.
- We suggest Islamic Cairo tours if you want to meet up with friends or family during Ramadan. The Alabaster Mosque, the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, and the Saladin Citadel are also worth seeing.
- In Cairo, Al Azhar is a famous shopping district during the holy month of Ramadan, with its many little kiosks and stalls providing all the necessities for the holiday of Eid. The market offers various products, including precious metals and ceramics. Also, you can visit Al-Azhar Mosque, the earliest and oldest center of Islamic higher education, anywhere globally.
- Located in the heart of Al Azhar, the commercial hub of Al Hussein is teeming with stores selling all the essentials for a comfortable Ramadan; the district is named after Al-Hussein Mosque. During Ramadan, Egyptians used to have breakfast and even suhoor at these establishments, in addition to their more typical restaurants.
Lanterns and other decorations will illuminate the streets, and people will be out and about. Al Fishawy, Naguib Mahfouz, Zeinab Khatoon, and El Lord / Qahwet Umm Kulthoum are just a few of the famous cafes in the area.
- Wekalet El Ghoury, Sufi dervishes concert, is another option. The market complex at Wekalet El Ghouri dates back to the time of the Mamluks. The earliest covered market and mosques in Abbasid and Ottoman styles may be seen in this complex. Visitors seeking a deeper understanding of Islam might also stop by the Al Ghouri Mosque Madrassa. Tanoura night shows are also great fun.
Egyptian Ramadan is a season of spiritual rebirth, communal joy, and age-old traditions. The BBC reports that Egyptians celebrate the holy month with enormous passion and excitement due to the country’s great national pride. Each person should make an extra effort to spend the holy month of Ramadan with their loved ones, as well as to serve others and develop their spirituality. At the same time that Egyptians are observing their religion throughout the month of Ramadan, they are also partaking in the country’s rich cultural rituals, making for a memorable and joyous celebration.
Experience the best Ramadan in Egypt traditions and take advantage of everything the country offers; exquisite food, gorgeous celebrations, and more are waiting for you when you book one of our top Egypt vacation packages. Make this Ramadan the most memorable vacation of your life. You can experience the best Egyptian Ramadan with United Guides Travel. Plan a visit to Egypt and explore the many wonders it has to offer.