- On 2023-11-28
- In How To Enjoy Egypt
Christmas and New Year in Egypt
As the year draws to a close, it’s a time for sharing, bonding, and spending time with those who enrich our lives. One way to embrace these sentiments is through travel. Year-end journeys have become increasingly popular, with many travelers seeking unique destinations filled with thrilling activities and itineraries. Egypt has emerged as a favored destination for December holidays, offering classic tours from Cairo and Nile River cruises (sailing between Luxor and Aswan).
December is also a time for Christmas celebrations. Recognizing that most people observe Christmas on December 25, many tourist attractions and hotels organize special events during this period. So, if you’re seeking a festive and extended Christmas holiday from mid-December to January, Egypt is the perfect destination!
The pinnacle of both Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are the special dinners hosted in hotels or on River Nile Cruises. And let’s not forget the country’s iconic landmark – the Giza Pyramids, which are illuminated by the reflection of fireworks as the year turns. Additionally, on New Year’s Eve, numerous hotels host dinners featuring performances by renowned local artists.
The History Of Coptic Christmas
Egypt is said to be the origin of the Christmas festival, including the Christmas tree. Egyptians used twelve-limbed palm trees to symbolize a completed year at the winter solstice, a tradition our Christmas tree is believed to trace back to. Interestingly, the birthdays of their sun deities were celebrated on this day.
The sacred month of Kiahk is when Coptic Christmas occurs. If you find yourself in Egypt during this time, it’s recommended that you do not miss this beautiful celebration. Every Saturday, worshippers partake in a special liturgy, praying with lovely songs that enliven the mass.
A unique fast is observed by the faithful for 43 days leading up to Christmas, from November 25 to January 6. This natural vegan diet called the “holy feast of the Nativity,” involves abstaining from meat and all its derivatives. However, exceptions can be made for those who are too weak or have health concerns.
According to popular statistics, most foreigners celebrate Christmas and New Year in Egypt at the Red Sea in Marsa Alam and Sharm El Sheikh. They enjoy the tranquil waters of the Sea and marvel at the vibrant coral reef beneath the Sea.
Egyptian Coptic Christmas
In the lead-up to Christmas, or Kiakh, as it’s known among Coptic Christians, the month is filled with unique customs. Predominantly, every Saturday night, hymns of praise echo through Coptic Christian churches. As dawn breaks around 5 am, Sunday Mass commences.
Why not embark on a day-long adventure with our Old Cairo Tour to discover Cairo’s ancient churches?
Day Tour To Coptic Cairo and Cave Church
Moreover, starting from November, 45 days before Christmas, a distinct dietary regimen commences. This diet, devoid of any animal-derived products, including butter, mirrors a vegan lifestyle. It’s a form of bodily discipline known to Christians as “the fast of the Nativity.” Themes such as discipline, sacrifice, giving, and extending kindness to others are emphasized.
Christmas Celebrating Traditions in Egypt
Just as in the rest of the globe, Christmas in Egypt is marked by food, decorations, traditions, and celebrations!
The majority of Egyptian Christians are members of the Coptic Orthodox Church, which has its own unique Christmas customs.
Most Egyptian Christians are Orthodox and celebrate Christmas on January 7, following a 45-day fast from November 25 to the evening of January 6. During this period, meat, poultry, and dairy products are avoided.
In the run-up to Christmas, Christian homes and churches are adorned with trees, lights, and miniature nativity scenes. On Christmas Eve, everyone dresses in new attire and heads to church, ready to partake in the festive joy.
At the grand St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, the Orthodox Church’s Pope commences the ceremony at 11 pm. Once the Christmas service concludes, people return home to enjoy an exceptional meal known as Fata, which includes bread, rice, garlic, and boiled meat.
Visiting friends and neighbors and sharing a sweet treat called Kahk is a traditional practice. Interestingly, this confection is also enjoyed by Muslims during Eid El Fitr, which follows Ramadan.
New Year’s Eve in Egypt is All You Need To know
Embarking on a holiday journey as the year concludes is a delightful blend of food, decorations, traditions, festivities, and a diverse array of experiences. Egypt might not be your first thought for a Christmas destination, given its Muslim-majority population. However, you’ll discover that the festive spirit is alive and well among the Egyptians.
There’s a plethora of activities to enjoy during Christmas. For instance, you could embark on a serene Nile cruise, savor a delicious cup of coffee, or explore other captivating Egyptian cities such as Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, Hurghada, Dahab, Sharm El Sheikh, and the capital, Cairo. You could indulge in retail therapy at some of Egypt’s largest and most renowned supermarkets, particularly in Sharm El Sheikh and Marsa Alam. A visit to the Egyptian Museum, the iconic Egyptian Pyramids, and the Cairo Tower is a must. Don’t miss the opportunity to capture stunning photos in front of the Sphinx or during a picturesque Nile cruise to Luxor and Aswan.
Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Book your Egyptian holiday today and send us your request for a unique and unforgettable Christmas experience with us!
How to Book And Prepare New Year’s Vacation in Egypt
- Choose the best time to visit. Egypt has a hot and dry climate with mild winters, and for your information, that is what makes Christmas in Egypt a high season. You’ll find no wonder why people fall in love with the land of the pharaoh when they plan the perfect time to visit, which is from October to April when the weather is cooler and more comfortable.
- Pick the right tour package. Sun Pyramids Tours, 1970, The most innovative travel agency in Egypt, is promising you an unforgettable Christmas vacation experience to live the most enjoyable and entertaining vacation on board a Nile river cruise.
You can choose from the ten best family tours covering the main attractions of Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, and Hurghada, or customize your trip according to your preferences and budget. You can also combine your Egypt trip with a visit to Jordan, where you can explore the ancient city of Petra and other wonders.
Check Christmas Packages
- Prepare for the visa and health requirements. Most visitors need a visa to enter Egypt, which can be obtained online or on arrival. You also need a valid passport with at least six months of validity. Check the travel advice from your government for any health or safety warnings before you travel. You may need vaccinations for hepatitis A, typhoid, and yellow fever. You should also bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and medication for common ailments.
- Pack smart and light. Egypt has a conservative culture, so you should dress modestly and respectfully, especially when visiting religious sites. Avoid revealing or tight clothing, and cover your shoulders and knees. However, when you are in urban and modern areas, it will look like where you live in your home country; you might notice Christmas trees everywhere, and you might meet Santa Claus as part of Egypt’s Christmas traditions. You should also bring comfortable shoes, hats, sunglasses, and water bottles for walking and exploring. Pack light and leave some space for souvenirs, such as papyrus paintings, alabaster statues, and spices.
- Enjoy the diverse activities and experiences. Egypt offers a wealth of activities and experiences for Christmas and New Year holidays, such as:
- Marvel at the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, the most iconic symbols of ancient Egypt. You can also visit the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where you can see the treasures of Tutankhamun and other pharaohs.
- Cruise the Nile on a traditional felucca or a luxury boat, and stop at various ancient sites along the way. You can visit the temples of Karnak and Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Hatshepsut, the Colossi of Memnon, the Temple of Kom Ombo, the Temple of Edfu, the Temple of Philae, and the Aswan High Dam.
- Relax on the beach or enjoy water sports in Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh, where you can find some of the world’s best coral reefs and marine life. You can also take a day trip to the Sinai Peninsula, where you can visit Mount Sinai and St. Catherine’s Monastery.
- Experience the local culture and cuisine in Cairo or Alexandria, where you can find various restaurants, cafes, bars, markets, and shops. You can also watch a sound and light show at night or enjoy a [Nile dinner cruise] with live entertainment.
- Celebrate Coptic Christmas in January, when Egypt’s Orthodox Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. You can join them in festive prayers and rituals at their churches or homes.
- Ring in the New Year with fireworks and parties in Cairo or other cities, where you can find many options for entertainment and nightlife. You can also celebrate traditionally by eating grapes or lentil soup at midnight.
- Egypt is a magical place to visit during the Christmas and New Year holidays, as it offers a mix of adventure, culture, and relaxation. Following these tips, you can plan a memorable and enjoyable Christmas and New Year in Egypt.
Why Do I Book With Sun Pyramids Tours?
1) Expertise and Experience: Sun Pyramids Tours has a wealth of 53 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry.
2) Customized Itineraries: Sun Pyramids Tours offers tailored itineraries to suit your preferences. Whether you’re interested in historical sites, cultural immersion, or adventure activities, we can design a tour that matches your interests.
3) Local Connections and Insider Access: Sun Pyramids Tours can provide you with unique opportunities and insider access to attractions and experiences that may not be easily accessible to independent travelers.
4) Hassle-Free Planning: Sun Pyramids Tours can take the stress out of planning your trip. We handle all the logistics, including accommodations, transportation, and guided tours, at competitive prices… Relax and enjoy your vacation without worrying about the details.
5) Customer Satisfaction: Sun Pyramids Tours prides itself on providing excellent customer service and ensuring customer satisfaction. They strive to meet and exceed your expectations, making your trip enjoyable and memorable. Add trip advisor reviews, Facebook page reviews, etc.
6) Safety and Security: Sun Pyramids Tours prioritizes the safety and security of their guests. We work with trusted partners, adhere to safety guidelines, and provide support throughout your journey to ensure a safe and comfortable travel experience.