Egyptian Culture, Religion and Local Customs
Climate: desert; hot, dry summers with mild yet still warm winters
Population: 82,079,636 (July 2011 est.) Language: Arabic, (English widely understood)
Ethnic Make-up: “Egyptians" 99.6%, and "other" as 0.4% (2006 census). "Other" refers to people who are not citizens of Egypt, who come to Egypt to work for international companies, diplomats, etc. Other sources give more detailed statistics, including Bedouins, the Beja (ca. 1 million), the Nubians (ca. 300,000 in 1996), Dom (ca. 230,000 in 1996), Greeks (ca. 400,000~ 18,000,000), Berbers(ca. 5,000).
A few Arabic phrases to experiment with whilst in Dahab…
Greeting: Asalam waleikum/Waleikum Salam Goodbye: Ma’salaama
Thank you: Shukran You are welcome: Afwan
Yes: Aiwa or Nam No: La
Please: Min faddlak or Mumkin
Egyptian Society & Culture
Whilst Christinaity is the faith of many Egyptians, Islam is practised by the majority of Egyptians. Islam emanated from what is today Saudi Arabia. The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is seen as the last of God's emissaries (following in the footsteps of Jesus, Moses, Abraham, etc) to bring revelation to mankind. He was distinguished with bringing a message for the whole of mankind, rather than just to a certain peoples. As Moses brought the Torah and Jesus the Bible, Mohammed brought the last book, the Quran. The Quran and the actions of the Prophet (the Sunnah) are used as the basis for all guidance in the religion.
Among certain obligations for Muslims are to pray five times a day - at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening. The exact time is listed in the local newspaper each day. Friday is the Muslim holy day and the start of the 'weekend'. In major cities most places will be closed - or at least for the prayer time. Many companies also close on Saturday, making the weekend Friday and Saturday.
During the holy month of Ramadan all Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk. Fasting includes no eating, drinking, cigarette smoking, or gum chewing during. Expatriates are not required to fast and eating in public during this time is permitted.
Each night at sunset, families and friends gather together to celebrate the breaking of the fast (iftar). The festivities often continue well into the night. In general, things happen more slowly during Ramadan. Many businesses operate on a reduced schedule. Shops may be open and closed at unusual times.
Egyptians are known around the world for their outstanding, and overwhelming hospitality. You will not be short of finding warm welcomes, kindness and friendly faces wherever you are - and especially in Dahab.
(Above info quoted from Kwintessential)
Here are a couple of interesting website links to learn more about Egypt:
To find out more about the Islamic Religion go to:
To learn more about Egypt, its people, history, culture and religions: