Thursday, 23 April 2009

Happy Sham el nessim !!

More than a few Egyptian traditions today derive from very ancient times, including the holiday known as Sham el Nessim, which may have been celebrated as early as 4,500 years ago. For Egyptians, Sham el Nessim , literally meaning ‘sniffing the breeze’, marks the beginning of the spring. It falls immediately on the first Monday following the Coptic Easter and it was related to agriculture in ancient Egypt which contained fertility rites that were later attached to Christianity and the celebration of Easter. It is believed that the Egyptians were the first to celebrate this occasion.
Sham el Nessim seems to be a holiday as old as Egypt. The name of the holiday is actually derived from the ancient Egyptian harvest season that was called "Shamo".
At this day , the early morning brings out millions of Egyptians on Sham el Nessim who crowd open green spaces even if that means ending up sitting on grassy patches next to roads, due to the scarcity of public parks and open areas in Cairo. Families start at dawn preparing their food, coloring their eggs with brightful colors, then take their blankets with them and enjoy the breeze of spring.
Sham el Nessim is also celebrated by eating traditional foods. It is associated with several types of food that are eaten together yet are much diversified. Fiseekh (Salted fish), boiled colored eggs, termis (lupin seeds), and green onions are some of the types of food eaten on this day, each backed by a different myth.
It was believed that offerings of fish were made to the ancient gods to ensure a good harvest. Salted fish symbolized to the ancient Egyptians fertility and welfare. Fish were abundant when the waters receded from the
Nile flood, leaving them trapped in natural pools, and easily caught.
Today, the Egyptians celebrate Sham el Nessim by eating a variety of slated, smelly fish known as fiseekh (feseekh), which is prepared in a traditional process that is considered almost an art form. The process of preparing the fish is passed from one generation to another to insure its quality. The types of fish used are sardines mackerel and anchovies.

Many people believe it is not healthy to eat fiseekh and have removed it from the list of food or have replaced it by tuna from a can.

For me & my family we prefer salted sardines "that we have to salt it one week before".
And of course I bake my favorite kind of sweet bread, it looks like Challah or this kind of greek easter bread "braid shaped".

We ate the big braid at this day and the rest in the freeze and I gave my mother in law one braid !
And these were sold !!
bye bye dears !!

Happy sham elnessim for you all !

Happy easter for all my christian friends !

1 comment:

  1. Happy Sham El Nassim to you! Thank you for sharing these lovely pictures. I plan on making the bread with my Mom very soon (waiting for the weather to be a bit warmer!)


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