Egyptians gathered all around the country to celebrate Sham El-Nessim, which literally translates to “smelling the breeze” and marks the beginning of the spring season.
Although Sham El-Nessim invariably falls on the day after Coptic Christians celebrate Easter, the festival is not rooted inEgypt’s ancient civilization, rather than religion, and is celebrated as a national holiday.
A large number of Egyptians choose to celebrate this holiday by visiting the Giza Zoo or other open parks and spaces to enjoy a picnic, or by taking a short boat ride on the Nile. Some also opt to make use of the long weekend by getting out of the city and heading to one of the country’s many beach destinations.
Typical Sham El-Nessim cuisine includes Herrings (ringa in Arabic), fermented fish (fiseekh in Arabic), eggs and green onions.Families gather outside the Giza Zoo, where a street vendor is selling animal-shaped balloons. Photo: Mai Shaheen, Ahram Online