Festivals & Events in Dahab
Dahab is among Egypt’s mot multi-cultural cities, blending many religious faiths in a harmonious manner; as a result, the list of Dahab Festivals includes some popular festivals that are celebrated across Africa and some unique, native festivals. Not many people know that besides the native Bedouin culture, Dahab is also inhabited by a small section of Christians. Further, some of the festivals are celebrated by a minority, i.e. small tribes, since their historic relevance is not commonly acknowledged.
Historic Dahab Festivals—Wafaa Al Nil & Leylet en Nuktah
Celebrated in September, Wafaa Al Nil is also called the ‘Festival of Nile’. Many versions of this festival are prevalent throughout Egypt—being among the most ancient of Egyptian festivals. In Dahab, it is celebrated with an emphasis on social bonding through various activities. Visitors can participate in night-long poetry sessions or seminars that are scheduled during this period. This is an easy way to understand the evolution of the Egyptian society. Another similarly-themed festival, called the Leylet en Nuktah, is celebrated in the second week of June. This festival too has a historic significance and has been celebrated from the time of the pharaohs. The exact date for the Leylet is calculated each year, using the historic, lunar calendar called the Coptic calendar.
Popular Dahab Festivals—Ramadan
With nearly 90% of its population belonging to the conservative form of Islam, Ramadan is perhaps the biggest of Dahab festivals. This festival celebrates an important aspect in the progress of Islam as a religion—the revelation of the Holy Quran to Prophet Mohammed. This festival is celebrated for nearly a month with day-long fasting followed by gorging on sweet delicacies during the evenings. Local parties called ‘Iftars’ are arranged throughout Dahab and an incomparable buzz can be seen in the local markets.
Cultural Dahab Festivals—Sham al-Naseem
This festival aims to unite people of all faiths. More of a picnic-like celebration, the festival of Sham al-Naseem celebrates the onset of the spring season. Celebrated in the latter half of March, the festival is celebrated with families undertaking impromptu picnics which emphasizes on inviting distant, family members. Local delicacies eaten during this period include kidney beans and dried fish.
Lesser-known Dahab Festivals—Egyptian Christmas
This is one of the lesser-known Dahab festivals. The minority of Christians residing in Egypt belong to the Orthodox Church. Here, Christmas is celebrated on 7thJanuary rather than 25th December. Owing to some unique customs that are endemic to north-African cities like Dahab, this version of Christmas too includes fasting for long periods. The festival doesn’t induce large celebrations but visitors can see the trademark Christmas trees and the typical enthusiasm in the local markets.