Tomorrow Egypt will celebrate an ancient Egyptian feast that is Sham El-Nessim. The ancient Egyptian had several feasts throughout the year and Sham El-Nessim is one of the most important of these feasts that we still celebrate till now. Sham El-Nessim is two Arabic words that mean inhaling the breeze in the English language.

When did the ancient Egyptian celebrate the Sham El-Nessim feast?

To make it more clear, the ancient Egyptian divided the year into three seasons that were flood, sowing, and harvest season. Sham El-Nessim feast was at the beginning of harvest season that called Shmo.

Shmo is an ancient Egyptian word meaning combustion or high temperature referring to the beginning of the summer time in ancient Egypt (the harvest season).

How did the ancient Egyptian celebrate the Sham El-Nessim feast?

Imagine this scene on gardens on the banks of the Nile River to enjoy the sunrise and eat:

  • A salted mullet fish AKA fesikh now. These fishes are prepared as the mummy of the god Osiris so who eats it would unit with the god.
  • Onions, The symbol of the goddess Bastet, the goddess of harvest which takes cat shape.
  • Chickpeas: the ancient Egyptian believed that it looks like the head of the falcon (the god Horus) so who eats the chickpeas would unit with the god.
  • They also colored eggs and collected flowers especially Lotus.

What is the link between the harvest feast (Sham El-Nessim) and the spring season feast?

The Greeks divided the year into four seasons that are winter, spring, summer, and fall season. When the Greeks occupied Egypt, they found that the time of their celebration the beginning of spring season was the same time when the ancient Egyptian were celebrating their Shmo or the beginning harvest season that led to connecting between those feats on the date the end of April or the beginning of May now.

What is the origin of Sham El-Nessim word?

When Muslims came to Egypt, they found the Egyptian named this feast with its ancient Egyptian name that was Tshom Ni Sime (garden meadows referring to harvest) so Muslims changed it to be Sham El-Nessim.

Explore Egypt Tours team is wishing you a happy Easter. Happy Sham El-Nessim feast.