Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sham El Nessim

Since we'll be traveling, we're going to entirely miss Easter this year and I'm a little blue about it. No egg hunts, no egg dying, no delicious Easter candy. I was feeling pretty down until I talked with my dad and he informed me that the day we arrive in Cairo happens to be Egyptian Easter! Well, not really Easter but a national Egyptian holiday called Sham El Nessim (or the Smelling of the Zephyr) which celebrates the beginning of Spring.

From Wikipedia:

In his book, Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, Edward William Lane wrote in 1834:

A custom termed 'Shemm en-Nessem' (or the Smelling of the Zephyr) is observed on the first day of the Khamaseen. Early in the morning of this day, many persons, especially women, break an onion, and smell it; and in the course of the forenoon many of the citizens of Cairo ride or walk a little way into the country, or go in boats, generally northward, to take the air, or, as they term it, smell the air, which on that day they believe to have a wonderfully beneficial effect. The greater number dine in the country or on the river. This year they were treated with a violent hot wind, accompanied by clouds of dust, instead of the neseem; but considerable numbers, notwithstanding, went out to 'smell' it.

Also From Wikipedia:

The modern Sham el-Nessim is celebrated by both Christians and Muslims, so it is considered a national festival, rather than a religious one. The main features of the festival are:

So while you're enjoying delicious ham and Cadbury Mini Eggs, I will be out sniffing the refreshing Cairo air and dining on salted Grey Mullet. Jealous much? Yeah, I thought so.

Wishing you a Happy Easter, a Happy Sham El Nessim, a Happy Vernal Equinox and a Happy General Conference Weekend. May your air smell beneficial and your fish taste salty!


Bridget said...

Hi, you don't know me, I clicked through from Amanda's comment on my blog. I scrolled down and saw the picture of your brother and I think I know him but I cannot for the life of me think HOW. Anyway, how exciting that you're going to Cairo. My advice about the plane trips is that they, too, shall pass and you will never have to see those people on the plane again. Good luck! And if you know how I know your brother, that would be great if you could tell me.

Bridget said...

Now that I've completely weirded you out...I figured it out. My husband helped run the Startalk program at the BYU last summer and your brother was one of the students. Phew! My brother (Steven) took a look at the photo and told me who it was.