Have you ever thought of Valentine’s Day in Egypt? Do you know if the tradition of celebrating the 14th of February reached also the country of pharaohs? Maybe you had a chance to be in Egypt that day and you could see what’s going on? Today I will tell you a bit about the tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day and about Egyptian Day of Love.
Valentine’s Day in Egypt
The tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day reached Egypt too. That day looks very similar to how it is in Poland. You can buy valentine souvenirs like mascots, balloons and other heart-shaped things everywhere. The shops are full of red gifts and the florist’s earn in one day what they usually get in few weeks or even months.
Couples that celebrate this day, often buy each other presents. Those may be personalized gifts as for birthday, or typical Valentine’s Day presents like mascots, heart-shaped pillows, flowers for women or chocolates. Many people take their loved one for a romantic dinner. You need to make a reservation in advance to get it on that day.
In this respect, Valentine’s Day doesn’t differ from what happens in Poland. However, the is also another similarity between Poland and Egypt if it comes to celebrating the Feast of Saint Valentine.
Eid al-Hob Egyptian Valentine’s Day
Did you know that in Poland we also have a Slavic equivalent of Valentine’s Day which is Kupala Night? In Egypt it’s very similar. There’s also one more day, when Egyptians celebrate love and it falls on the 4th of November. That day is Egyptian Eid al-Hob, which literally means “Feast of Love” because “hob” in Arabic means “love”.
Where does the Egyptian Feast of Love come from?
The story of the origins of Egyptian feast Eid al-Hob is really interesting, although there are so many versions of it already that it’s difficult to say which the only true one is. Anyway, it was like that:
A journalist called Mustafa Amin, who founded a newspaper called Akhbar al-Yom, was walking in one of the districts of Cairo and saw a funeral. He noticed that only three people were taking part in it. That surprised him because in Egypt usually a lot of people participate in the funerals: family, friends, and neighbors. The journalist couldn’t understand how it was possible that only three people came to this one.
He approached those people and asked for the reason. The participants of the funeral told him that no one loved the man who died. Mustafa Amin got sad and soon after that day, he published an article in his paper where he proposed to make the 4th of November a Feast of Love in Egypt.
Why is it the 4th of November?
That was the day when Mustafa Amin saw the funeral that made him propose the feast. The data sources provide different year of this event. Some say that the Feast of Love appeared in the fifties, others say that it was in the seventies and there some that claim it was the 4th of November 1988.
What happened after publishing the article?
At the beginning the Egyptians weren’t enthusiastic about the idea and they didn’t treat that day as a feast. However, after some time more and more people started to celebrate it and November 4th was marked as a Feast of Love in Egypt.
How do people celebrate Valentine’s Day and Eid al-Hob today?
It’s hard to say how many people celebrate Valentine’s Day or which day is more popular I Egypt. There are people who celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 14th of February, there some who celebrate the Egyptian Feast of Love – Eid al-Hob. Some Egyptians celebrate both days and some others don’t accept any of them because they believe that neither Valentine’s Day nor Eid al-Hob is part of their tradition. That’s just another similarity between Poland and Egypt. Here not everyone accepts this day as a feast and not all Poles celebrate Valentine’s Day.