On the following Egyptian public holidays (civil and religious), banks, shops and businesses are closed and public transport may be limited:
- 7 January (Eastern Orthodox Christmas)
- 25 January (day of the Egyptian revolution)
- 25 April (Sinai Liberation Day)
- 1 May (Labour Day)
- 23 July (day of the July revolution)
- 6 October (Armed Forces Day)
- 1st Shawwal, the 10th month of Hijri (Eid al Fitr, “Breakfast Festival”)
- 10th Dhu al Hijjah, the 12th month of Hijri (Eid al Adha, “Feast of Sacrifice”)
- Working reduced hours during the 29 OR 30 days of Ramadan.
As Islamic holidays are based on the lunar calendar, their exact dates vary from year to year.
Ramadan is the 9th month according to the Islamic calendar which is the most significant month for Muslims, which is the predominant religion in Egypt. In commemoration of the moment when God revealed the Koran to Muhammad, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking or smoking during this holy month until sunset each day. Although strict observance of Ramadan is reserved for Muslims, some Muslims appreciate that non-Muslims do not eat or smoke in public places. During Ramadan, many restaurants and cafes do not open until after sunset. Public transport operates less frequently, shops close earlier before sunset and the pace of life (especially business) is generally slow.
As expected, at the exact minute of sunset, the whole country rests and embarks on the main meal of the day (iftar, “breaking the fast”), which almost always takes place as a social event between large groups of friends. Many wealthier people offer (Tables of the Merciful God موائد الرحمن) in the streets of Cairo to serve free full meals to passers-by, the poorest or workers who cannot leave their posts at this time. The prayers become popular “social” events, which some like to embellish with special before and after sweets. An hour or two later, an astonishing flowering of cities takes place. The streets, sometimes richly decorated throughout the month, have continuous rush hours until the early hours of the morning. Some shops and cafés make most of their annual profit at this time. The cost of television and radio advertising soars during this period and entertainment is at its peak.
Egypt celebrates many religious festivals and carnivals, also known as Mulid. They are usually associated with a particular Coptic or Sufi saint, but are often celebrated by Egyptians of all faiths and religions. Ramadan has a special flair in Egypt. It is celebrated with sounds, lights (local lanterns called fawanees) and lots of torches, so many Muslim tourists from the region flock to Egypt to be part of it during Ramadan.
Sham en Nisim , an ancient spring festival, (Coptic: Ϭⲱⲙ ‘ⲛⲛⲓⲥⲓⲙ shom en nisim) have been celebrated by Egyptians for thousands of years, typically after Easter Sunday, during the months of Palem Udeh (April) and Pasun (May) in Egypt.