ramadan in egypt

Ramadan in Egypt

Have you ever dreamt of experiencing a culture steeped in rich traditions and vibrant celebrations? Look no further than Egypt during Ramadan, the holiest month in Islam.  Ramadan in Egypt transcends mere religious observance; it’s a captivating tapestry woven with social gatherings, delectable cuisine, and a unique sense of community spirit.

Does Egypt celebrate Ramadan? The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, this Muslim-majority nation embraces Ramadan with unparalleled fervor, transforming everyday life into a beautiful spectacle. In Egypt, Ramadan is not just a religious observance; it is a cultural phenomenon that brings people together and shapes the rhythm of daily life.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, holds a special place in the hearts of Muslims worldwide. It is a time of fasting, prayer, and spiritual growth, observed by millions of Muslims around the globe.

ramadan in egypt

Ramadan is a time of spiritual purification, where Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other worldly pleasures from sunrise to sunset. This fasting period is not only a physical challenge but also a journey of self-discipline, empathy, and gratitude. However, Ramadan in Egypt goes far beyond just fasting. It’s a vibrant amalgamation of traditions, customs, and celebrations that paint the country in a unique light.

When does Ramadan Start?

Ramadan typically begins with the sighting of the new crescent moon, which marks the start of the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar. The exact start date of Ramadan can vary from one country to another, as it depends on when the new moon is sighted. This means that the beginning of Ramadan shifts approximately 10-12 days earlier each year in the Gregorian calendar.

The Islamic calendar follows the lunar cycle, and each month lasts either 29 or 30 days. Therefore, Ramadan can last for either duration, depending on the sighting of the moon to mark the end of the month.

The Egyptian Ramadan Experience

ramadan in egypt

As the crescent moon signals the beginning of Ramadan, a palpable shift washes over Egypt. The bustling streets in Egypt during Ramadan quieten down during fasting hours, replaced by an air of contemplation. Mosques come alive with the melodic sounds of Quran recitations, drawing in worshippers for Taraweeh prayers, special night prayers offered throughout Ramadan.

Traditions of Ramadan in Egypt

Egyptians embrace Ramadan with a blend of religious devotion and cultural festivities. Here’s a glimpse into the soul-stirring atmosphere and time-honored traditions that make Ramadan in Egypt truly special:

  • Fanous – فانوس: As the sun sets, the streets of Egypt come alive with vibrant lanterns known as “fanous – فانوس” These beautiful decorations illuminate the cities, creating a magical and festive atmosphere. The lanterns symbolize the joyous arrival of Ramadan and add a touch of enchantment to Egypt’s bustling neighborhoods.
ramadan in egypt
  • Iftar in Egypt – الإفطار في مصر: Iftar, the breaking of the fast, is a cherished moment in Egypt during Ramadan. Egyptian families gather around lavish tables filled with traditional delicacies. Sharing this communal meal fosters a sense of unity and generosity among Egyptians.
  • Suhoor – السحور: Before sunrise, Muslims wake up for a pre-fast meal called Suhoor to sustain them throughout the day.
  • Rahman Table – مائدة الرحمن: it refers to a communal iftar meal during Ramadan, where food is provided for the public, often sponsored by charitable individuals or organizations. It’s a tradition that emphasizes sharing and caring for those in need during the holy month.
ramadan in egypt
Photo by ahmed.mostafa.saudi
  • Taraweeh prayers – صلاة التراويح: Special night prayers, known as Taraweeh, are performed in mosques during Ramadan.
ramadan in egypt
  • Musaharati – المسحراتي: One of the most cherished traditions in Egypt during Ramadan  is the Musaharati, a person who wakes up the neighborhood before dawn with a drumbeat, calling residents to wake up for their pre-dawn meal. This age-old custom adds a touch of nostalgia and community spirit to the Ramadan nights.
ramadan in egypt
Photo by MizoPhotographer

Fasting Together: Suhoor and Iftar Feasts

The pre-dawn meal, Suhoor – سحور, becomes a cornerstone of Egyptian Ramadan life. Families and friends gather before dawn for a hearty suhoor to sustain them throughout the fast. Dishes like foul medames – فول مدمس (fava beans with olive oil and spices), baladi bread – عيش بلدي, and cheese are common choices.

As the sun dips below the horizon, the anticipation for Iftar, the evening meal that breaks the fast, reaches a fever pitch.  The call to prayer for Maghrib (evening prayer – صلاة المغرب) marks the official start of Iftar, transforming homes and streets into vibrant scenes of celebration. Families and friends gather around tables laden with delicious dishes, eager to share stories and reconnect after a day of fasting.

Ramadan and Egyptian Cuisine

Egyptian cuisine takes center stage during Ramadan, with families preparing elaborate Iftar meals. Here are some of Ramadan Famous Meals & Desserts:

  • Mahshi – محشي: Vegetables stuffed with a spiced rice mixture.
  • Fattah – فتة: A hearty dish made with rice, bread, garlic, and vinegar, often served with boiled lamb or beef.
  • Bamia – بامية: A stew made with okra and meat, typically lamb, in a tomato-based sauce.
  • Rokak – رقاق: Thin pastry sheets filled with minced meat.
  • Molokhia – ملوخية: A green soup usually served with chicken and rice.
  • Mombar – ممبار: Sausage casings stuffed with a spiced rice mixture.
  • Sambousak – سمبوسك: Savory pastries filled with meat, cheese, or spinach.
  • Konafa – كنافة: A popular dessert made with shredded phyllo dough, plain or filled with sweet cheese or nuts.
  • Qatayef – قطايف: Deep-fried dumplings filled with cream or nuts, often drizzled with honey.
  • Basboussa – بسبوسة: A sweet semolina cake soaked in syrup.

Some of Ramadan Famous Drinks:

  • Amar El Deen – قمر الدين: A sweet apricot nectar.
  • Tamr Hindi – تمر هندي: A tamarind-based beverage with a sweet and sour taste.
  • Kharoub – خروب: Carob juice, rich in fiber and protein.
  • Khoshaf – خشاف: A compote of dried fruits and nuts.
  • Sobia – سوبيا: A creamy drink made from rice, coconut milk, and sugar.
  • Erk Sous – عرق سوس: A licorice root juice.
  • Karkadeh – كركاديه: A vibrant hibiscus tea, a refreshing drink during Iftar.

The Spirit of Charity and Giving

Ramadan fosters a strong sense of community and solidarity in Egypt. Here are some of the community spirit manifestations:

  • Rahman Table – مائدة الرحمن: as we mentioned earlier, it refers to a communal iftar meal provided for free during Ramadan, symbolizing charity and sharing.
  • Zakat – الزكاة: Muslims are encouraged to pay Zakat, a form of alms, to support the less fortunate during Ramadan.
  • Family gatherings: Extended families gather for Iftar, strengthening familial bonds and creating cherished memories.

Experiencing Ramadan in Egypt: Travel Tips and Recommendations

Traveling to Egypt during Ramadan can be a unique and enriching experience. Here are some tips and recommendations to help you navigate and enjoy your visit:

1- Respect the Fasting Hours:
While tourists are not expected to fast, it’s considerate to avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours out of respect for those who are fasting.

2- Plan Your Day Around Iftar:
Traffic can become quite congested as people rush to break their fast at sunset. Try to be at your destination well before iftar to avoid the rush.

3- Experience the Nightlife:
After iftar, the streets come alive with people and festivities. It’s a great time to explore markets and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

4- Join in the Celebrations:
If you get a chance, accept an invitation to join an iftar meal. It’s a wonderful way to experience Egyptian hospitality and culture.

5- Be Mindful of Prayer Times:
During Ramadan, Muslims do extra prayers in groups called Taraweeh. Be respectful of prayer times, especially these evening prayers (Taraweeh – تراويح) after ishaa’ prayer (صلاة العشاء).

ramadan in egypt

6- Visit Cultural and Religious Sites:
Ramadan is a great time to visit mosques and other cultural sites, but be mindful of dress codes and religious practices.

7- Learn a Few Arabic Phrases:
Phrases like “Ramadan Kareem – رمضان كريم” (Have a generous Ramadan) and “Ramadan Mubarak – رمضان مبارك” (Blessed Ramadan) are appreciated and can enhance your interactions with locals. Also, survival Arabic courses can be useful for you during your stay in Egypt, know more about how to learn Arabic for Travel and check our Survival Basic Arabic courses.

8- Check Opening Hours:
Some shops, museums, and attractions may have different operating hours during Ramadan, so it’s best to check in advance.

9- Stay Hydrated:
It’s important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re traveling during the hotter months. Drink plenty of water during non-fasting hours.

10- Enjoy the Special Foods:
Don’t miss out on the special foods and drinks that are unique to Ramadan, like the sweet drink ‘Qamar El Din’ or the desserts ‘Konafa – كنافة’ and ‘Bassbousa – بسبوسة’.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the spiritual and cultural beauty of Ramadan in Egypt. Learn more about Egyptian Culture and Traditions.

Ramadan Mubarak – رمضان مبارك & Ramadan Kareem رمضان كريم

ramadan in egypt

Both of the two greetings “Ramadan Mubarak” and “Ramadan Kareem” resonates throughout the country, a wish for a blessed Ramadan. It encapsulates the spirit of generosity and gratitude that is deeply ingrained in the Egyptian way of life during this sacred month. Charity and community service reach their peak, reflecting the true spirit of Ramadan.

When does Ramadan End?

The joyous celebration of Eid al-Fitr عيد الفِطر marks the conclusion of Ramadan. Families and friends gather for special meals, exchange gifts (particularly for children), and enjoy festive decorations. Children often receive Eidiyyah – عيدية (Eid gifts), and there’s a general sense of celebration and renewal.


Ramadan in Egypt is a time of spiritual growth, cultural celebration, and community unity. It is a month that transcends religious boundaries, offering a glimpse into the Egyptian traditions and values. Whether you’re a Muslim or not, experiencing Ramadan in Egypt is a journey that will enrich your understanding of the world and leave a lasting impression on your soul. Embrace the spirit of Ramadan and discover the beauty of this sacred month in the heart of Egypt.