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Coptic christmas in Cairo

11.12.2008 · Posted in Travel Tips Articles

The cathedral entitled to Saint Mark was built in Cairo, and during Christmas period it becomes the favourite destinations for Egyptian Christians. Christmas is particularly meaningful in this country, although Christians are a religious minority, because it was just in Egypt that Jesus spent part of his childhood, and the feast has been celebrated in a very enthusiastic way above all since 2002, when the President Hosni Mubarak declared that Christmas had to be considered a national feast, and not an important event only for a small part of the population. rnrnCoptic Christmas has something in common with Christmas as it is celebrated in the West, but it is also characterised by peculiar features. First of all, the day when it is celebrated is not the 25th December, but the 7th January (this day is considered as the day when Jesus was born also by orthodox Christians), which corresponds to the 29th day of the Coptic kiahk month, and which marks the end of a fasting period lasting more than 40 days, during which people avoid eating meat and any other animal products, such as cheese and eggs. This fasting period is intended to recall the 40 days that Moses spent on the Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. rnAlthough Christmas in Egypt is celebrated on the 7th January, celebrations last throughout December and January, and are characterised by various rituals and customs which make Egypt, and Cairo in particular, a particularly appealing place to visit in this period. In these days it is not difficult to find Christmas carols and Coptic music concerts, and although in Egypt Christmas is not a commercial feast as it is in the West, nonetheless visitors will have the possibility to buy gifts in a number of Christmas bazaars. Furthermore, if you wish to taste something typical of this period, buy lib, dried seeds that can be considered as a sort of symbol of this feast.rnrnHowever, Christmas in Egypt is above all a religious feast, and the climactic moment of this day is the midnight mass, which marks the end of the starving period. Many people, also important people, take part in the mass that is hosted in Saint Mark Cathedral, in Cairo, and after the mass families meet together to give presents, money and new clothes to children, and to have the Christmas meal, which is called fatta and which is prepared with bread, rice, garlic and boiled meat. In the morning people usually visit friends and relatives, bringing them the kaik (a particular kind of shortbread), and celebrating together this important feast.rnrnCairo, and Egypt in general, is a magic and appealing place, which takes the breath away to visitors. If you would like to experience a particular event, and to celebrate a different Christmas, book now your cheap hotel in Cairo!rnrnTickets: free eventrnDate: 7th January 2009rnLocation: Cairo, Egypt

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