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Sham El-Nessim

Breathing the Breeze

  • It is an Egyptian festival occurring annually on Monday, the day after the Coptic Easter Sunday.

  • The name of the feast is actually derived from the ancient Egyptian harvest season that was called "Shamo", which means a day of creation, On that day, the ancient Egyptians used to offer salted fish, lettuce and onions to their deities on this day.

  • The feast of 'Shamo,' means 'renewal of life' which was later changed during the Coptic age to 'shamm' (smelling or breathing) and the word 'nessim' (breeze) was added. The ancient Egyptians first celebrated the feast of Shamo in 2700 BC.

  • Sham el-Nessim is celebrated by both Christians and Muslims as it is considered a national more than religious festival.

The main features of the festival are

  • People spend all day out picnicking in any space of green, public gardens, on the Nile and at the zoo.

  • Traditional food eaten on this day consists mainly of Fiseekh, a salted fish, lettuce, green onions, tirmis and boiled colored eggs.

breathing the breeze = شم النسيم

harvest season         = موسم الحصاد

deities                     = الآلهة

lettuce                     = الخس