Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas in Cairo

Christmas in Cairo is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Whereas the Holy Month of Ramadan is accompanied by music, decorations, traditional foods, and gift swapping, Christmas is a silent affair in Egypt.

When I first moved to Egypt, my experience during Christmas living in a Muslim country was unique. I had grown up in many different countries, but all with a Christian background. Christmas was always everywhere, it exploded in front of your eyes in supermarkets, street lights, people's houses and gardens, Christmas music was on every radio. I was lucky enough to have been living with my family in Cairo at the time, so I still had the traditional big tree, and our Christmas day celebrations were always the same. It was just lacking the image of Christmas outside.

Now that I'm on my own in Cairo though, Christmas is of a different sort. I still fly "home" to the family for two weeks over Christmas itself, but until then, it's as though the season has almost disappeared. I actually walked into Metro supermarket the other day, and was surprised to see a small display of overpriced Christmas decorations. It was a sudden, "Oh yes! Christmas is coming!" My friend Charlotte and I were discussing her experiences in the Christmas Bazaars in Cairo yesterday, at which point she noted her surprise when realising that Christmas Day is only 20 days away! Presents! I have to get presents!

In the spirit of this time of year, I try my best to recreate at least some of the traditions I was used to in my house growing up. I have a Christmas tree, albeit a whopping 0.5 meter tall little thing. I have a set of Christmas lights up (woohoo), and hopefully this week I'll be venturing out to find some tinsel that's both decent and affordable. I'm also making it my goal this year to fill both mine, and my friends time, with copious amounts of baking. This time of year goes hand in hand with good food, so in keeping that in mind, I'll be baking, and subsequently posting, some of my favourite recipes on here! Yummmyyy.

Anyhow. With this in mind, Happy Christmas to everybody, for those of us surrounded by it everywhere, and for those trying to remember that here in Cairo!