There is no such thing as a unified “Egyptian Culture,” for the simple reason that Egyptians form a multicultural society, where modernity and western customs flirt with traditions, and where religious practices are moderate, but where religion is still deeply anchored in the everyday life of the Egyptians…
However, Egyptians from all social strata, religious beliefs, or ethnic origins share a remarkable attachment to important social values, such as:
– Family: Egyptians consider their family as an integral entity which they have to protect. Don’t be surprised to notice that an Egyptian feels responsible for his whole family and the behaviour of his siblings, his parents, his cousins, etc.
– Friendliness and Humor: Egyptians are known to be the funniest, friendliest and most helpful nation of the Middle East. They will go out of their way to help you in any troublesome situation, always with a smile. If you’re sensitive to their humour, which is renowned world-wide, you’ll be surprised to see how far a smile or a joke can take you in Egypt.
– Sports: The most famous sport in the country is football. Egyptians love to play and watch football. The most popular national football clubs are Ahly and Zamalek, both of which are based in Cairo.
– Folkloric Dances: Egypt is famous for its authentic and beautiful heritage of customs and traditions.
Egypt is also known for the varied forms of folk art and dances, proper to each region of the country. While inhabitants of Suez, Ismailiya and Port Said are famous for group dances accompanied by music played on the traditional ‘semsomiya’ (an old traditional string instrument), the southern population of Al-Saeed are known for their ‘logging’ and equestrian inspired dances. Nubian dances are probably the most colourful and joyful folkloric performances; Nubians wear colourful costumes and dance to the enticing rhythms of Nubian songs. The folkloric Sinai dance is one where the dancers wear beautiful hand-embroidered dresses and perform a sword-dance.
Moreover, Egypt is a lively artistic scene, world famous for its music, film, theater, and TV industries. Although it could be considered as having a bigger impact on the Middle East and the Arab countries than it does on the Western world, it is important to underline that Egypt has contributed to the world cultural heritage through iconic figures such as Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz (who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988), acclaimed movie director, Yousef Chahine, Egyptian actor Omar Sherif, and the most famous Arabic diva of all time, Umm Kolthoum, only to name a few.
Egypt has also given the world acclaimed scientists and thinkers such as Ahmed Hassan Zuweil, winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, and Sir Magdy Yaacoub, an acclaimed surgeon, a heart transplantation specialist and renowned professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Imperial College in London.