Some say that the best thing about Egypt is that it is sunny all year round, while that may be true, Egyptians also particularly relish the arrival of winter for the cooler winds that it provides. While the country certainly boasts few Christmas carols and little to no spiced pumpkin beverages, there is a certain atmosphere to be celebrated nonetheless. Here are top items that are a mark of true winter in Egypt.
It is warm, sweet and infused with vanilla and coconut. Sahlab is most ostensibly what all Egyptians look forward to with the arrival of winter. Make no mistake that the origins of sahlab are hard to track down; it is popular all over the Middle East during winter times. The debate between hot chocolate and sahlab is intense in Egypt, with many preferring the latter, especially when topped with crushed nuts.
Seasons in Alexandria tend be distinguished. It is not rare for it to hale and rain. Although Egypt’s sewage system is not in the least bit to absorb the torrents of rain water, Alexandrians enjoy a little bit of a pour here and there. The fresh weather also makes it exciting to take a long stroll by the corniche and makes for spectacular sunsets.
3. Sinai snow and Mount Catherine
As soon as temperatures drop, photos of snow-peaked hills and mountains from Sinai start circulating on social media. The monastery of Saint Catherine tends to be especially covered in lots of sheets of white. At this time, adventure and hike groups multiply their offers to climb St Catherine or St Moses mountains. Although this is a thrilling and beautiful experience, one would would do well to prepare well for the cold and the slippery hikes!
4. Coptic Christmas
Western tradition dictates that Christmas be celebrated on the 25th of December, as per Protestant and Catholic beliefs. However, in Egypt just like in Russia, Ethiopia and the Christian ‘Orthodox’ world, Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January. It is a wonderful moment for Egypt’s Copts, with celebrations, carols, services and food aplenty. Egyptians break their Advent ‘vegan’ diet and finally celebrate after services, swapping cookies as gifts and indulging in lamb ‘Fattah’.
5. Sweet potato straight from the cart
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#مصراويات | #masraweyyat ———————————————————————— 12 Photos, 12 Tales fresh from the streets of Egypt. ١٢ صورة ب١٢ حكاية من الشوارع المصرية. ———————————————————————— قليل اوي اما اقابل راجل مش راضي يتصور عشان ‘احنا من الصعيد ميصحش’. بس قالي اصور عربية البطاطا، هي جوهر حكايته وقصة حياته. I rarely run into guys who are too conservative to be in my pictures, but he said I should take a picture of his sweet potatoes, for they are the essence of his life story. ———————————————————————— #PhonePhotography #MobilePhotography #StreetPhotography #egyptstreetphotography #egyptStreetStyle #everydayegypt #everydaycairo #egy_shots #egyshots #ThisIsEgypt #egyptian #egyptianstyle #photography #portraitphotography #portraiture #portrait #candidPhotography #candid #candidEgyptian #wandering #wanderlust #tourism #egypt #cairo #masr
It’s warm, sweet, healthy and, for some mysterious reason, tastes better than home-made grilled sweet potatoes.
6. Festival of the Sun at Abu Simbel!
Hailed as one of the most historically rich countries in the world, Egypt’s legacy from ancient Egypt is plentiful. Other than the wonderful tombs and pyramids that still stand magnificent today, there are certain magical moments that take place in ancient Egyptian temples. One of them is the Festival of the Sun, in February, inside Abu Simbel Temple.
The temple remains in darkness most of the year except on two occasions, in October and February, when wondrous streams of natural sunlight illuminate the Gods seated statues in a gesture of brilliant architecture and light engineering. Thousands of visitors flock to the temple to see the magical moment.
As the weather gets cooler in Egypt, some might consider this a time to snuggle in their blankets with a cup of hot chocolate while others take this as an opportunity to explore Egypt’s potential outdoor activities that are to difficult to do during the warmer weather. When people think of Egypt, hiking is not one of the activities that come to mind. Due to the country’s versatile landscape, there are great hiking locations that people can go visit to discover more about Egypt’s history or to just partake in a new hobby.
8. Hearty lentil Soup!
The two best times for copious amount of lentil soup is either during Ramadan, when Muslims need to break their fast by consuming a lot of liquid, or during the winter! This soup is a staple in every household, packs a good protein punch and is tasty enough to eat when the weather is so cold that one cannot move his or her fingers.
9. Visiting Luxor and Aswan (and actually being able to enjoy it)
Egypt’s Upper cities, laden with paths of adventure and sight-seeing potential, are wonderful all year long. However, during the summer, the weather tends to be too warm and many suffer from heatstroke. As such, Nile tours are more popular during the winter when the sun is not as harsh. This is especially important for those who are seeking to walk and be active, visiting the temples of Deir El Bahari in Luxor or strolling about the numerous islands of Aswan.
10. Grilled corn in the streets
With their grills out, corn vendors set up shop just about everywhere in the big cities in order to grill corn ears and give them to the rushing passerbys. Although these are simple and unspiced, Egyptians just about swear that are most often enjoyed in groups.
11. The lights and decorations
It may not be on the same level as European Christmas markets, but endless lights and decorations (as well as Egyptianised Santa Claus roaming malls) are sure to mark the arrival of winter celebrations.
12. Still being able to go to the beach
Thousands of tourists flock to Egypt particularly during the winter for some sun, and beach time. Although the weather tends to be overall colder, Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada are still popular tourist spots where one can take little dips in the water. Although the Mediterranean is not easy on the ambitious swimmer, the Red Sea makes for a more suitable option.