Sham el-Nessim


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Sham el-Nessim

Between April 5 and May 9; Monday after Coptic Easter
A national holiday and folk festival in Egypt, the Sham el-Nessim has been observed for thousands of years as a day to smell the breezes and celebrate spring. Nessim means "zephyr," the spring breeze, and sham means "to breathe in." While the date is set by the Coptic calendar, the holiday is now a non-religious national holiday observed by everyone as a family affair.
Traditionally, people pack picnics to have outings along the Nile River or in parks. Certain food is specified for the occasion: the main dish is fessikh, a kind of salted fish, and it's also traditional to have mouloukhiya (stuffed vine leaves) and eggs with decorated, colored shells. The foods are believed to prevent disease, and the eggs symbolize life. Vast numbers of fish are eaten in Cairo on Sham al-Nessim.
Other traditions call for placing freshly cut flowers at doors and windows, and putting a clove of garlic at the head of each bed to prevent boredom and fatigue for those who lie there.
At the time of the pharaohs, spring was celebrated with gifts of lotus flowers to wives or loved ones, and families enjoyed river outings on flower-decorated barges and feluccas (small sailing vessels).
CONTACTS:
State Information Service, Egypt Ministry of Information
3 Al Estad Al Bahary St.
Nasr City, Cairo Egypt
20-2261-7304; fax: 20-2261-7308
www.sis.gov.eg/En
SOURCES:
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 74
BkHolWrld-1986, Apr 28
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 215
References in periodicals archive ?
It was observed during the previous public holiday, Sham El-Nessim in April, that the ministry pushed male security conscripts into the streets, while the role of police women was nearly non-existent.
In the other corner are individuals like the forthright Egyptian television presenter on the Cairo Today channel Amr Adeeb, a Muslim who talks as though his country has been invaded by pod people, strangers who don't listen to the songs of Umm Khultoum, who don't eat fasikh (dried, salty, fish) during Sham El-Nessim (a public holiday celebrating the onset of spring) or engage in any traditional Egyptian pursuits.
Summary: PORT SAID - Revellers are expected to take to a main street of the coastal city of Port Said Monday to burn effigies of ex-president Hosni Mubarak and his cronies to commemorate 860 civilian deaths that occurred during the January 25 Revolution and celebrate the spring festival known as Sham el-Nessim, an artist said Sunday.
During the recent national festival of Sham El-Nessim, the campaign group 'I Saw Harassment' took to Cairo's downtown streets to intervene and document cases of assault.
Police 'inactive' in stopping sexual harassment during Sham El-Nessim
Service set up to monitor sexual harassment during Sham El-Nessim
Another initiative to combat sexual assault is the I Saw Harassment initiative, which set up a campaign during Sham El-Nessim to monitor instances of sexual harassment along the Nile Corniche throughout the holiday.
Police were "lazy" and slow to react to incidents of verbal sexual harassment throughout the Sham El-Nessim holiday
Citizens will be allowed to obtain unlimited amounts of bread in light of high consumption rates during the Sham El-Nessim period
As Egyptians celebrate several festivals and holidays, Sham El-Nessim remains distinctive.
El-Erian's daughter-in-law told Daily News Egypt that due to the holiday of Sham El-Nessim Monday, the appearance of the detainees in front of the State Security Prosecution was delayed for one day.
In April, a "fishy" fatwa by the chairman of the fatwa committee in Al-Azhar Sheikh Abdel Hamid Al-Atrash declared that it is Islamically prohibited for Muslims to eat fesikh, salted fish Egyptians traditionally eat during the spring holiday of Sham El-Nessim.