The Customs And Courtesies Of Egypt Cultural Studies Essay

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The greetings of Egyptians are very warm and loving, as if they were welcoming you with open arms. The Egyptians are known for their kindness and laid back attitudes, you must remember not to offend them in any way and it's important to know the proper way to greet them, especially if you are greeting a women. You do not want to disrespect her or her family.

Warmth in personal relations is important to Egyptians, and greetings are often elaborate. Because social classes play a key role in society, phrases used for greetings depend largely on the differences between the individuals' social classes. Generally, however, friends of the same sex shake hands and kiss on the right and left cheeks. If the greeting comes after a long absence, the kisses may be repeated more than once and even end with a kiss on the forehead (Crandall 58).

Here in the U.S the way we greet is different from this by not kissing on the cheeks; we shake with our right hands, have eye to eye contact. If you're a good friend of someone or a family member then you would give them a hug and a kiss on the cheek. But the professional way is to shake hands and have eye contact. Egyptians have more of a bond with their handshakes.

A man greets a woman with a handshake if he woman extends her hand first. Otherwise the greeting is verbal. The person declining to shake hands slightly bows the head and places the right hand over the heart. One does not use another's first name unless invited to do so. Good friends exchange first names in informal settings, thought in some circles it is taboo for a man to even know the first name of a friend's wife (Crandall 58).

In Egypt women have different rights and norms, the figure of the women is to be like the stay at home mom doing the household work and taking care of the children. Women must be greeted with respect as well as treated.

Because personal relationships with friends and relatives are so vital, visiting is one of the most important pastimes in Egypt. Married children often visit parents on Fridays and holidays. It is common for guests to take a gift to the host. Gifts usually reflect the guest's social and financial position in relation to the host as well as the closeness of the relationship. One passes and receives gifts with either both hands or only the right hand, not the left. (Crandall 59).

Egyptians make it a priority to visit with families; it's a good way of keeping the family close and up to date with their lives and latest changes.

Eating for an Egyptian is a different meaning of eating then what we think it is. Eating is more of a value to them.

Egyptians prepare elaborate and expensive meals when they have guests. Sometimes a person will not eat everything on the plate because leftover food is a symbol of abundance and a compliment to the host for providing so well. Or in restaurants, food is left as a sign of wealth (indicating one can afford to leave food behind). Egyptians eat finger food with the right hand. When they use Western utensils (mostly in large urban areas), they eat in the continental style, with the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right (Crandall 59).

That is interesting about leaving the food behind; it's a way to tell who is wealthy and who is not. For me in my family I have always been thought to finish all my food. Or in a restaurant we always take our food home if we have left over's.

Physical distance between members of the same sex is closer than in the United States and much farther apart between members of the opposite sex. In fact, good friends of the same sex may walk arm in arm in public. Yet except for married or engaged couples who walk arm in arm, a man does not touch a woman in public. It is impolite for the bottom of one's foot to point at another person; therefore, one does not prop the feet on a table or chair in the presence of others. Walking in front of a praying person is also considered impolite (Crandall 58).

This is different from the United States and practically the complete opposite, like couples tend to walk hand and hand or arm in arm in public. And friends mostly walk side by side. And for us we don't normally see people praying on the streets as they do in Egypt, but it's good to know that if we see one praying not to walk in front of them.

Egyptians wear a wide range of clothing styles. Around universities, people wear Western-style-clothing, For the most part, but often dress a little more formally than many students in Western countries. Businessmen and women generally dress in Western-style business clothes. Men wear suits with ties, while women wear dresses or suits. Well-to-do Egyptian women wear the latest European fashions; however, they usually choose long-sleeved garments and fairly long skirts. Egyptians are very conservative in their dress, and wearing revealing clothes in public is not considered appropriate (Wilson 46).

Egyptian women always need to be covered up in public; it's not in their culture to express themselves with pants, shorts, short sleeve shirts, showing cleaveage, or showing their neck. The dress attire is strict for women. The men also have to present themselves well; men who are professional are clean and must dress appropriate with a suit.

The most visible clothing seen in Egypt is the traditional galabea (GAHL-ah-BAY-yah), an ankle-length, loose garment worn by men and women. Men usually wear white, beige, grey, or light blue galabeas. Women tend to like more color and some embroidery, or black if they are more traditional (Wilson 46).

The fashion in Egypt is very traditional; the men have a dress code as well as the women.

Many women in Egypt wear a large scarf fitted snugly around the face and under the chin. They wear scarves because unobtrusive clothing and being covered up is part of the conservative society in Egypt. The scarves, however, may be quite beautiful and trimmed with beads. Only in very conservative families in Egypt do women wear face veils. Many scholars believe that veiling is a very old tradition" (Wilson 47).

So mainly if the family is strictly conservative the women will have their face covered up to their eyes, otherwise they show their face just not hair or neck.

the people

In the United States even though I hate to say it we still discriminate against people over age, skin color, ethnic group, what language they speak and even people with disabilities. "People are not categorized into ethnic groups nor discriminated against because of their skin color. Most Egyptians do not think of themselves as Arab or Nubian. They simply consider themselves Egyptian" (Wilson 20).

The country of Egypt has a population of "78,866,635" (No Author 3). By percentage the age structure consists of "0-14 years: 33%, 15-64 years: 62.7%, 65 years and over 4.3% (No Author 3) This is currently up to date considering it was published in 2010. There religion mainly contains to Muslim which is "90%, Coptic 9%, other Christian 1%" (No Author 5).

About 99 percent of Egyptians trace their heritage to Egyptian, Nubian (NOO-bi-an), Bedouin (BED-oo-in), AND Arabian ancestors. Most share a common cultural heritage, language (Arabic), and religion (Islam). The remaining one percent traces its heritage to Greece, Italy, Syria, or Lebanon (Wilson 20).

"National Holidays included Labor Day (1 May), Annivesary of the Revolution (23 July), Armed Forces Day (6 Oct), and the lunar New Year. The celebration of Sham el-Nasseem marks the beginning of spring" (Crandall 60).


For most Egyptians, life revolves around family relationships. Marriage and the birth of children mark the most important events in any Egyptian's life. Legally, a girl may not marry before age sixteen or a boy before age eighteen. "Among many middle and upper class Egyptians, marriage may be somewhat later. Girls and boys do not "date" in Egypt as they do in the West. The only exception to this general rule is among some of Egypt's elite, who are very westernized in their dress and behavior (Wilson 22).

In the Egyptian culture their lives are their family and nothing is better or means more to them then family.

Many marriages, although certainly not all, are arranged by an agreement between families. Sometimes the boy and girl know each other; sometimes they do not. Among the Bedouin and fellahin, marriages may be arranged when the child is very young (Wilson 23).

It is a privilege for the parents of a girl to look for a groom and make sure he is right for her; the families are the ones who mainly get to decide on a count of it is not right for an Egyptian lady to socialize with a male.

Occupying the northeast corner of the African continent, Egypt is bisected by the highly fertile Nile valley, where most economic activity takes place. Egypt's economy was highly centralized during the rule of former President Gamal Abdel NASSER but has opened up considerably under former President Anwar EL-SADAT and current President Mohamed Hosni MUBARAK. Cairo from 2004 to 2008 aggressively pursued economic reforms to attract foreign investment and facilitate GDP growth (No Author 8).

I consider Egypt to be a pretty wealthy country by what it has to offer from the oil transports to the tourism and the imports and exports trades that are made.

"Soccer, or association football, is Egypt's national sport. Children play on school teams or in open fields" (Heinrichs 115)

Egypt offers a variety of different recreations such as "golf, tennis, horseback riding, rowing, sailing, aquatic sports, football known as soccer for Egyptians" (Morkot 94).

The food is not as different as you would imagine it, the variety of meals are foods that you mainly have heard of.

"Egyptians may have as many as five meals a day. Breakfast, at least in the city, is usually a drink at home and some foul (foul)-a bean dish" (Pateman and El-Hamamsy 121).

"The most common Egyptian cheese, a soft white cheese similar to feta, is made from sheep's or goat's milk" (Pateman and El-Hamamsy 122).

For an Egyptian villager, food is simple and hearty. Most meals include a dish made with fava beans, or broad beans. People boil them for hours, often overnight, to make them soft enough to eat. In ful, the national dish, they are mixed with various herbs and spices for flavor. Sometimes beans are chopped and mixed with eggs. A ball or patty of soft beans is fried in olive oil to make tamaiya (Heinrichs).

The Egyptian dishes sound healthy; they have a good variety of food to choose from.

the nation

EGYPT IS THE HOME of one of the world's first great civilizations. An advanced culture that lasted almost 3,000 years developed in the land around 5,000 years ago. (Pateman, El-Hamamsy 19)

Egypt has a long line of history it goes back so long that some of the ancient artifacts are mysterious and still unsolved even until today.

People began to settle along the Nile more than 6,000 years ago. The soil in the river valley was very fertile, and hunter-gatherers gradually abandoned their old way of life to become farmers. The surrounding desert land protected the settlements in the valley from invaders, thus enabling these early inhabitants to prosper. As the population grew, the settlements merged until they formed two kingdoms: one in the valley (Upper Egypt); the other centered in the delta (Lower Egypt).

Even though that there have been some changes with different President's, I assume that they are leading Egypt into the right path. It wouldn't be good if a country that is highly succeeding drop back down to the dirt after all the hard work they put into making it successful.

"Government:: Egypt, Conventional long form: Arab Republic of Egypt, Conventional short form: Egypt, Local long form: Jumhuriyat Misr al-Arabiyah, local short form:Misr, former: United Arab Republic (with Syria), Government type: republic (No Author 5)."

Primary schools cover the first five grades, from ages six through eleven. Secondary schools last for six years, broken into two three-year cycles. About 91 percent of Egyptian children enter primary school, but about half the students drop out at age fourteen (Heinrichs 114).

"Land boundaries total: 2,665 km, Climate: Current Weather desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters" (No Author 2). The land is larger than Oregon, by far.

"Egypt is the 12th largest country in Africa, with a land area of 384,345 square miles (995,450 square km) which is about the combined size of Texas and California. Egypt is bordered by Sudan in the south; Libya in the west; the Mediterranean Sea in the north; and Israel, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Red Sea in the east" (Pateman and El-Hamamsy 7).

Egypt sure seems to be kept busy with all it has to offer plus the goods that they grow and resource, they create a variety of things to sell across the world to export and import in.

More than one-third of Egyptians are employed in agricultural pursuits, such as growing corn, wheat, cotton, rice, barley and fruit. Egypt also produces cheese and dairy products. Chief industries include food processing, textiles, chemicals, cement, petroleum, and metals. Egypt exports cotton, petroleum, yarn, and textiles. Important natural resources are oil, natural gas, lead and other minerals (Crandall 60).

The transportation in Egypt is simple they transport by "Cars, taxis, gharry- a horse dawn carriage, bicycle, horse, camel, donkey, felucca which is a flat-bottom boat powered by white sails, hydrofoil services-which is an aircraft" (Morkot 88).

In the U.S you don't see animals traveling on the roads through the city as if you would in Cairo; to them it's just an ordinary way of traveling.

"The Nile River is used for transporting goods and people as well as for recreational tours" (Crandall 60).

"Applying for and getting a phone are expensive and take a long time; people without phones make calls from a central phone office. Mobile phone access is widely available; internet access is growing. There are five main television stations and even radio networks" (Crandall 60). It's not like your regular household where each has a phone. But they are growing and getting pretty up to date with what's currently going on.

It is always wise to take vaccines against typhus. There is no danger of catching malaria. Do not bathe in the Nile or the canals, where there is risk of catching bilharzias, a disease caused by parasites found in stagnant water which attacks the liver. The Egyptian sun can be quite punishing (Morkot 77).

One of the wonders of the world lies in Egypt, The Great Pyramid of Giza. It's one of the oldest of the wonders of the world and was from ancient times. Many pyramids lie in Egypt but the Pyramid of Giza is the largest of them all.

Egypt is a larger country then I thought, but considering when you view it on a map anything can be smaller then what you imagine it. Other major and known cities of Egypt are Cairo which is the capital, and then there is Alexandria which has a major ancient history to it. Other cities; Giza, Shoubra al-Kheima, Port Said, Asyut, Aswan, Luxor and Suez.