Egypt is the transcontinental country in Africa; by this I mean Egypt has a small part of its territory in Asia, on the other side of Suez Canal and a greater part of its territory in Africa. Politically, she is a member of the African Union.
Egypt is one of the earliest civilizations of Africa with enduring, unique, complex but stable cultural heritages which have influenced the recent cultures of Europe. Meanwhile, Egypt transited from the influences of Hellenism to Christianity and later, to Christian cultures.
Egypt and Languages
The major languages of the Egyptians include “the Coptic language”, which is considered the most recent language in Egypt owing to its liturgical nature in association with the Orthodox Church.
“Koine Dialect of the Greek” is also important especially as it traces back to “Hellenistic Alexandria.” It was the language of philosophy and Science of that culture which was later studied by Arabic scholars.
Another language used by the Egyptians is the “Arabic language”, which has currently become the modern language of the country; used in its varieties as a second dialect owing to its influence as Egyptian language of the media.
Also, there is the “Nobiin language”, one of the Nobian languages of Egypt spoken around Kom Ombo and Aswan (in the lower Nile valley) and Kenuzi-Dongola. There are about 300,000 speakers of Nobian languages in Egypt. We also have the “barber languages” spoken by about 5,000 people represented by “Siwi”, living around the Siwa Oasis.
There is “Domari-language” (related to Romany) spoken by over a million people living North of Cairo, as well as Greek languages, spoken in Alexandria by approximately 60,000 people.
The Egyptian literature ranges from “Pyramid Texts” – the oldest extant of Egyptian mythology and rituals carved around the tombs of the rulers respectively.
There is also the “Wisdom Texts” – Consisting of forms of philosophical instructions.
They also have the “Coffin Texts” –produced after the end of the old kingdom and finally the “Mortuary literature” – produced as the “Book of the Dead” during the new kingdom.
Egyptians and Religion
The greater number of Egyptians (about 75%) practice Islamic religion; about 22% of them are Coptic Christians, while the remaining three percent practice other forms of Christianity.
Egypt is among the first major civilizations to be categorized in terms of design elements in art. Series of wall paintings done to depict Pharaoh’s rigidity followed code of visual rules and meanings, while flat spaces represents the absence of linear perspectives.
Other images and arts were designed based on what they knew to be true and not necessarily what they saw. In Egyptian arts, distance is portrayed through the use of “tiered space”, whereas, more distant objects are drawn a bit higher above the nearby objects.
It has been observed that objects in Egyptian artworks are never facing forward, owing to the believe that Artists’ status was very low and as such, would never be allowed to be in front of higher authority, let alone facing or staring at them eyeball to eyeball.
A grid system, which enabled a smaller version of the artwork, but also gives room to scale up proportional representation in a larger grid, was used by the Egyptian artists to maintain dimension within artworks.
Egypt and Sports
The most popular sport in Egypt is football. The first African country to join FIFA is Egypt, although she had only made it to FIFA world cup twice in the years 1934 and 1990 respectively. There are other records of sports victory in the history of Egypt. Basketball, Handball, Tennis and Squash are other popular sports found in Egypt.
Egypt and Music
Music in Egypt is a mixture of Western and Indigenous influences. It started with the playing of Harps and Flutes and gradually graduated to the use of indigenous instruments such as “Ney and Oud”. Percussion and vocal music have remained essential in the music culture of the Egyptians.
Renowned personalities associated with the contemporary Egyptian music are: Mahmud Osman, Sayed Mikkawi, AbduI-Hamuli among other Egyptian music icons.
Pop music is another important music tradition found among Egyptian youths starting from the 1970s.
They also cherishes” Folk Music” which is popularly played during festivities and weddings which served as a means of communication especially as it affects class distinction and other social issues. Tamer Hosney, Mohammed Mournir, Amb-Diab and Ali El Harggar were all popular names associated to Egyptian music at its early stages.
Egypt and Dance
The traditional dance of Egypt dates back to the Pharaonic period with many sculptures and paintings to show for it. Dance in Egypt is not only the heart of Egyptian society, but is also known as a “popular enjoyment” especially as there is various dance scenes prepared to fit every occasion.
Egyptian dances include: “Belly dance”- an ancient Egyptian dance, the “Mahraganat – electro-chaabi music dance”, “Sufi – dance”, “Zar Ballet tradition dance” etc.
The contemporary dance scenes in Egypt are dynamic and at the same time, very limited. Egyptian music and dance exists more during festivals.
Egypt and Cuisine
Egypt is known for their rich varieties of cuisine (food): cuisines such as Ful medamis, Kushari, Molokhia, the list goes on and on.
Our brief journey through Egypt and the knowledge of their culture inspires every good-hearted individual to want to travel and tour around Egypt just to experience the wonders of their magical land.
Facts about Egypt will provide you with a great insight into Egyptian legacies.
There are more wonders attached to Egypt; Find out!