Egyptians are a religious people. Most of the country’s inhabitants are Muslims, so life in Egypt is subject to Muslim dogmas. As soon as the singing of the muezzin is heard from the top of the minaret, the believers give up their work and go to pray. The hot climate determined the second main feature of the Egyptians’ national character — relaxation. Residents of Egypt do not like to rush, which is why they are often late and spend a lot of time making decisions. Lack of punctuality and slowness are justified by the habit of living according to «Egyptian time». The favorite word of the Egyptians is bukra, which means tomorrow. They rarely refuse, but do not hesitate to reschedule meetings and postpone the fulfillment of the promise.
The Egyptians are open and friendly, but not following the rules of local etiquette causes disapproval. At the first meeting, people of different genders greet each other only verbally. First a man is introduced, then a woman. Public opinion is of great importance to the Egyptians. To prevent rumors and gossip, when communicating, marital status is mentioned. Men greet with a handshake. Close male friends and relatives hug and kiss each other on the cheeks. If women say hello, a handshake and a symbolic kiss are required. The acquaintance ends with the phrase «fursa said», which means «very nice.»
Despite the exactingness towards tourists, Egyptians are quite tolerant. There are many foreigners living in the country who work for local companies or who are married to Egyptians. Christian churches operate in cities along with mosques. The proximity of the two confessions is clearly visible in Cairo and Alexandria. Muslims and Christians are often friends and celebrate religious holidays together. The inhabitants of Egypt often marry foreign women. Family is the most important value in their life, so marriages are rarely dissolved. Several generations live in villages and small settlements under one roof. In large cities, young families move out from their parents and live separately.
Egyptian man is the head of the family. He supports his wife and children and is responsible for their well-being. In their free time, the Egyptians watch football in the men’s company, and on the days of important matches they leave their homes and gather in sports bars. Women usually do not work, but do household chores, watch TV, receive guests. Egyptians like to visit each other in the late evenings and often stay up until midnight. The owners of the house offer guests light snacks and soft drinks, tea or coffee with sweets. When accepting a foreigner in the house, dishes of national cuisine are served on the table, which is impolite to refuse. The meal is accompanied by lively conversations and jokes.
True believers Muslims, Egyptians do not eat pork or drink alcohol. A gift in the form of a bottle of alcohol is perceived as an insult to religious feelings. The ban on alcohol has led to an increase in the number of smokers in the country. In Egypt, smoking of cigarettes and hookah is widespread, which is called «shisha» by the locals. Egyptians are cheerful people and easily make contact with foreigners. If they like the person, they will try to establish friendly relations with him. When talking with locals, you should be careful in your statements. Criticism against the country and the government is regarded as a personal grievance and negates communication.
The people of Egypt are extremely superstitious. Protective amulets, talismans of health and wealth are in great demand. Such paraphernalia is found everywhere: in poor houses and luxurious apartments, small shops and brand stores. The superstition of the Egyptians sometimes reaches the point of absurdity. Excessive praise, compliments to women and children are regarded as attempts at the evil eye. Such words are accompanied by the traditional exclamation «mashalla!», Which means «by the grace of Allah.» Children in Egypt are loved, pampered and tried to protect in every way. In order not to cause envy, they are called dissonant names, dressed in rags and smeared with soot.
The Egyptians’ respect for their own traditions is manifested in their love for national dress. The men wear long cotton galabee shirts and short pants, and they cover their heads with a felt swatch. The traditional attire of Egyptian women is a black hijab. It is decorated with bright details, lace. Wealthy men and women with higher education dress in Western fashion. Tourists are allowed to wear familiar clothes, if they do not reveal the shoulders, back, neckline or legs and do not fit the figure.
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