Traditions and manners: what you need to know about Egypt before the trip?
Non-stop warmth, gentle sea, hot sand on the beaches and amazing diving in the Red Sea. Egypt loves to receive tourists, and they reciprocate the sunny country. And although local resorts are waiting for tourists with open arms, it is worth knowing about the peculiarities of behavior in this country and the laws by which the Egyptians live. Our selection will help to understand what the eastern lifestyle is.
Traditions and clothes
Even in the heat of the beautiful half, it is not advisable to go in a swimsuit outside the hotel, as well as abuse mini skirts and tops. The Muslim character of the country does not allow liberties in clothing to either the indigenous population or tourists. Men should not relax either: shorts should cover their knees, a T-shirt or shirt can only be removed on a hotel site, and Egyptians would regard legs without shoes as a sign of poverty.
You should be careful when taking pictures. Not all locals will like that you photograph them without permission, some may even ask for money. In general, Egypt loves an additional fee for their services in all areas: taxi drivers, hotel employees, waiters in a restaurant.
Do not get the camera in local markets or in stores. People with gadgets here are considered rich and can increase the price of the product you are interested in. By the way, in order not to disappoint the seller, actively bargain, so you can sell the price in half, or even more.
Twice a day, all locals call for the sound of the muezzin to pray. Be prepared for this and the fact that in Ramadan the streets are becoming deserted, and all government agencies are open two hours a day.
If you make an appointment with the Egyptian, do not be surprised if he is late. Local residents live in a measured rhythm – they make decisions for a long time, they do not tolerate bustle.
The first thing you need to know when checking into a hotel is that in no case should you drink tap water. Using it for brushing your teeth is also not recommended. Tap water here is not intended for these purposes and even for washing fruits – it is better to use bottled water.
Visiting the Egyptian
If you made friends with an Egyptian family and invited you to visit, be prepared that the owner will be dressed in a festive outfit. In Egypt, it is not customary to welcome guests in a bathrobe and slippers, as is not customary to set the table for visitors. You will be offered only tea or coffee, while the owner will serve it. The wife is not allowed to do this, because in this case she will serve other people’s men, which contradicts Arab laws. But the family will treat the sweets as a gift with gratitude, and you will receive approving points to your account. The Egyptians will not refuse simple souvenirs, but it is better to make sure that your gift has practical value – such presentations are especially appreciated here. If in the end you decide to take pictures with the owners of the house, it’s good form to send them a couple of photos later.
Even in the most friendly circle, do not start a discussion of the role of the sexes in society, wars, the attitude of Egypt with neighboring countries, as well as the contrast of the west with eastern countries. You can ignite a discussion in which your thoughts may differ from the opinions of the owners of the country. It is also not worth mentioning that you do not like something in your vacation. The Egyptians love their country and sacredly honor its mouth, so they can be offended.
Superstition and gestures
The Egyptians believe in higher powers and hang amulets wherever possible. From the evil eye, for happiness, attracting money, luck, for children – amulets, local residents have a huge variety. They can take even a harmless compliment as an attempt to jinx it.
It must be remembered that shoes must be removed before entering the living room. But do not show the locals the soles of their feet – they will regard such a gesture as disrespect and may even be angry.
Greetings, serving food and drinks, as well as gesturing in Egypt should only be done with the right hand. The left is considered to be “unclean” in the country, and you will strongly offend the Egyptian if you do not take this rule into account.
The basis of Egyptian cuisine is legumes, barley, wheat and vegetables. These ingredients have been considered traditional for most dishes for generations. When traveling to Egypt, keep in mind that most of the native inhabitants are vegetarians. Their meals may consist of fritters or tortillas, cereals, lentils and vegetable snacks. All dishes are prepared from fresh products, seasoned with spices, and served with traditional Baladian bread – a fragrant cake of wholemeal flour, often with filling. But meat snacks can be found in almost every restaurant. For a traditional Egyptian meal, as well as for a restaurant menu, spicy additions are characteristic. Eggplant dip is served with garlic and olive oil, and with it bring hummus and sesame seed paste.