Egypt has impressed the world with its breathtaking attractions and unique touristic places—the country even has two of the world’s Seven Wonders; nevertheless, some of the Egyptian traditions are more astonishing and harder to understand their meaning than most of these wonders. Here are some of the top traditions only Egyptians can understand.
Explore more of Egyptian culture on our 10-day ultimate Egypt trip – our Local Insider will guide you around the top sights in the country.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Shah’et El Mulukhiya, Mulukhiya Gasp
A funny tradition that Egyptian women have occurs when they cook Mulukhiya, a dish of vegetables mixed with leaves of Corchorus olitorius. One of the most-traditional Egyptian dishes, it is not easy to perfect its taste. Shah’et El Mulukhiya means El Mulukhiya Gasp, and it requires the person cooking it to inhale suddenly with their mouth open and make a sound like that of astonishment. Some believe that when the woman cooking Molokhiya does this when adding garlic to the Mulukhiya pot, it gets the right taste and is prepared perfectly.
Not Finishing Your Glass of Juice
Those visiting an Egyptian family should remember to drink all of their juice—especially if the family has daughters. It is a common understanding that if a guest doesn’t finish their glass of juice offered by a host family with daughters, then these girls won’t get married.
This means when someone invites another to food, drink, or something else when he doesn’t really mean it. A very common request, Egyptians say it on various occasions depending on the situation. Marakbiya originates from the word markb, which means boat in English. The meaning behind this expression involves two people, each in a boat far from the other, and one of them invites the other to food or drink or anything else. It’s an invitation unlikely to be accepted by the second person because it is hard to get to the first. This is how the expression came up, and Egyptians started using it.
Burying a Weasel
Those who want wealth and prosperity to come to their house, then bury a weasel at the doorstep. Some Egyptians believe that burying a weasel at their doorstep will allow them to gain a lot of money and have a better life.
Da2 El Hon, Drumming El Hon
People usually use el hons to mince garlic. When a new baby is seven days old, family and friends celebrate with guests singing for the baby and the parents distributing sweets. It is a tradition to drum a metal hon and make a loud noise while making statements to the baby like “always listen to your mom and not your dad” or “Love your grandparents more than your uncles”. Drumming el hon next to the baby’s ear makes it accustomed to noise. Some people believe that the baby follows the statements they say in its ears, and applies them in their later life.
Step in With Your Right Leg
When going into a new place, like a new house, step in with your right leg. Doing so can bless it and bring in good, happiness, and prosperity.
Beware of the Black Crow!
Most Egyptians don’t like black crows. That’s because they believe if a black crow stands on a house’s roof, something bad will happen to the house or its people—most commonly, someone will die.
The Twitching Eye
Have you experienced a twitching eye for few seconds? It can be very irritating sometimes, but it can also be a sign that something bad is about to happen for Egyptians—especially if it is the left eye. Some Egyptians wait for the bad thing to happen to them or to hear the bad news all day.
Some Egyptians believe that having girls mean a better livelihood. Although many Egyptians prefer to have boys because they can depend on them in work and carrying on the family name and business, girls are still believed to bring more wealth than boys.
Coffee and red tea are the most common drinks in Egypt. However, accidentally spilling coffee is good omen. When someone spills coffee, most of surrounding people tell them that this is a good sign, meaning good things will happen.
Beware of the Turned Slipper!
Whenever Egyptians see a turned slipper, they put back to its right position or tell someone close to it to do that immediately. Why? Because they believe the turned slipper brings Satan inside the house.
Girls love their hair, and Egyptian girls are no exception. However, for that love, there are some traditions that advise them on how to keep it healthy and pretty. One example includes not letting anyone step on cut hair on the floor or else hair will start falling out and won’t grow back.
Hold the Wood
When someone talks about the great things they have, the good that has happened to them, or how blessed they are, impressed and amazed listeners tell them to “Hold the Wood” to prevent envy.
Looking for travel inspiration for your next getaway? Browse our collections of Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips to explore the world with the help of our Local Insiders.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.