Traditional Egyptian Celebrations of Eid Al Fitr

Traditional Egyptian Celebrations of Eid Al Fitr

Reviewed by: Wafaa El-houseiny

Translated by: Maryam Ayad 

Traditional Egyptian Celebrations of Eid Al Fitr

Since Egypt had been introduced to the Islamic Religion in the seventh century, Eid Al Fitr became one of the most widely celebrated religious occasions in Egypt. Moreover, the Egyptians have their own unique traditions for celebrating Eid Al Fitr, which were first introduced to the Egyptians in The Fatimid and Mamluk eras.


In the Fatimid era, Eid Al Fitr preparations were started by the end of the month of Rajab. The country then was allocating a fund of 20 thousand dinars to be given to a Fatimid charity organization called “Dar Al Fotra” that was responsible for preparing “Kahk”, a Middle Eastern cookie-like dessert, that was usually stuffed with different types of nuts and even with golden dinars. Amazingly, one golden dinar was enough to cover the expenses of a family for 3 months at least. “Dar Al Fotra” used to spread its production on the Egyptian princes and nation just before Eid, even sometime, Dar Al Fotra sent some “Kahk” to the adjacent countries.

Nevertheless, there was a fund allocated to a specific industry called: “Al Hollal”, which is traditional clothes that were manufactured from cotton and silk and decorated with fine golden and silver decorations. “Al Hollal” back then was distributed to the Egyptians on Eid eve, to the extent that Eid Al Fitr was called: “Eid Al Hollal”.

                With the last week of the month of Ramadan, the Egyptian mosques were decorated and enlightened with lanterns, and the Imams sang before each call for prayer a specific type of song named “Tawhish Ramadan” which literally means: “We will miss the month of Ramadan so much”, a part of “Tawhish Ramadan” was:

 “Oh, Allah, we don’t want to wait too long for Ramadan, we can’t wait that long for the month of the Quran”

            On the morning of Eid, the crowds awaited at the Khalifa Castle gates to witness the Khalifa’s motorcade on his way to perform the Eid Prayer. The motorcade included the princes and the soldiers accompanied by a large crowd heading towards the square in which they would perform Eid Prayer. After Eid Prayer, Khalifa’s motorcade proceeded again into the city, in the company of princes, people of Sophie sectors, and even elephants and giraffes, towards the celebration square, in which “Somatt” El Eid was all set. Somatt El Eid was an enormous banquet specially prepared for Eid and lasted for three days from dawn till dawn. Somatt was generously provided with all types of dishes, beverages as well as desserts. The princes and the scholars used to greet the people and congratulate them before joining the banquet, and the Khalife used to give countless gifts and even throw golden dinars in the streets, and from the balcony of his castle. This tradition of giving away or literally randomly throwing golden dinars at random initiated the everlasting tradition of “Eidiah” (Eid allowance) that was called “El Jamaykiah” back then. Khalifa’s generosity didn’t stop at giving away countless dinars as “Jamaykiah”, but he also used to issue an amnesty for prisoners as a celebration of this glorious occasion. The Egyptians used to spread the vibes of Eid by celebrating in parks, gardens, and the banks of the Nile, where they used to play music and watch the shows by the many performers in celebrations that would last to the dawn as an expression of their pleasure with Eid.