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Millions of visitors visit Egypt to take part in various world class events, festivals and exhibitions that are celebrated throughout year.

Coptic Christmas - January

Following the Coptic calendar Christians in Egypt fast for 43 days from the 25th of November to the 6th of January in celebration of the fast which Moses endured when he received the Ten Commandments. During this fast the Coptic Christians refrain from eating products such as meat, poultry, eggs and milk. On the last day of the fast there is a church service at midnight which in Cairo is addressed by the Coptic Pope in honour of the Coptic Nativity. People wear new clothes and after the church bells are rung marking the end of the fast many Coptic Christians head home to begin their feast and exchange gifts whilst meeting family and friends.

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Cairo Book Fair- January to February

The popular Book Fair not only offers a wide range of publications, it also has a number of exhibitions and literary activities, providing the fair with a great deal of versatility and interest. Well known local and international authors, publishers and distributors are present at the fair which is one of the biggest literary events to take place in Egypt. The event features lectures, readings, book signing and panel discussions on a range of topics and often presented in a variety of languages as well. Past speakers have included Anthony Horowitz, David Almond and Quentin Cooper.

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Sun Festival at Abu Simbel - February & October

Ramses II built his temple at Abu Simbel so that the internal chamber would light up two times a year: once on the anniversary of his ascension to the throne (in February, around the 22nd), and once on his birthday (in October, around the 22nd). Every year during the Sun Festival, crowds gather before sunrise to observe the stream of light gradually sneaking through the stone and enlightening the statuettes of Ramses, Ra and Amun in the central chamber. Only the statue of Ptah– the god of darkness – remains in the shade even on these two special days of the year!

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Spring Festival – March to April

The Spring Festival is a long celebrated national festival that dates back 2700 BC with the ancient Egyptians who celebrated it as Sham Ennisim which was a day of renewal or creation of life. Now the festival is known as Sham El Nessim, which means smelling the air, which is thought to be beneficial on this day. Many Egyptians will travel to the countryside, public parks and gardens or along the bank of the river Nile to relax and take in the beneficial air. It is also popular for people to take picnics and dine outside, with salted fish,onions, lettuce and beautifully coloured boiled eggs all traditional items that often feature on the menu and symbolise good health, luck, fertility and hope.

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Ramadan – July to August

Ramadan is a special time for Muslims as it was during this time that God revealed the first verses of the Quar’an to the prophet Muhammed. During Ramadan Muslims fast from dawn through to sunset and are not permitted to eat, drink alcohol, sin or smoke during this time, with exceptions for the very sick, elderly or young who do not have to partake in fasting. Colourful lanterns are displayed both within people’s homes, inside mosques and on the streets during the month of Ramadan making many of the cities streets incredibly bright and colourful. Many tourist sites and attractions will often open late and close early during this time. The feast of Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the month of Ramadan with families gathering together for a large celebratory meal.

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Cairo International Film Festival – November to December

The prestigious International Film Festival was first held in 1976 and continues to attract some of the most renowned figures from the film world. There are three main competition categories during the festival – one for Digital Film, International Film and Arabic Film that draw in competitors from around the world. There are also many other awards for internationally renowned actors and directors that have in the past included the likes of Nicolas Cage, Peter O’Toole and Richard Gere.

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