Culture Shock Egypt (Things you SHOULD know about Egyptian culture)



hi everybody I'm Ali of Cairo and I wanted to talk about some things that you may or may not know about Cairo and Egypt in general so Cairo is a city and Egypt is the country and but I just wanted to cover some things with you that maybe you may not have known since and you're coming here and I think it's kind of important to know these things the first thing I wanted to talk about is um evil eye okay the evil eye is very very very big part of the Egyptian culture and they really believe in it a lot probably you know maybe 95% even believe in the evil eye and um so for example if you go to somebody's house and you like their house and you say wow you have such a beautiful house uh don't do that they think that when you do that when you compliment them that you're giving Envy to them and you're giving the eye of envy okay so a lot of times you'll go into people's houses and you'll see like a little placket with an eye and dangling things on it this is to ward off the evil eye and and people wear things like this like jewelry and and bracelets with the evil eye to protect themselves so what you have to do if you want to say that your house is very beautiful you say masha'Allah and that is kind of like God bless you but in a protective kind of way so for example I have a little story I have a friend and we came to Egypt once and we saw a very famous belly dancer and my friend said to her you have beautiful legs and then the next day she got sick from her legs and she had a problem and she blamed it on me she never wanted to see her again so this is is not I'm not joking this is true story so these are things that you know for example something that I said I went to somebody's house for dinner and there was a kid running around and eating eating eating a meal and I thought it was so cute and I was like oh eat so much you know and they thought I was cursing the child because I didn't say masha'Allah so you know yeah it's so difficult to know what's the right thing to say and what's the wrong thing to say but like if somebody has a really nice car don't say oh your car so nice because then they're gonna think they're gonna get into an accident they do say things and they know your foreign so they do say things to themselves like mashaallah to themselves to protect themselves but um it's better if you just refrain from saying that don't say somebody's hair it's beautiful um unless you're famous a lot you know things like that so that's one thing so the next thing I when it talked to you about is um physical contact here in Egypt or in Cairo or in Egypt it does apply pretty much all over the Middle East actually men and women are not supposed to have physical contacts you only supposed to have physical contact with your wife or your husband or your family so I think that the best thing to tell you is that you know a lot of foreigners they come here and they think that you know they can greet somebody by kissing them on the cheek especially men you can kiss women on the cheek but don't kiss men on the cheek it's not proper it's not polite I've seen many many girls do it um I do do it sometimes but these are people that I've known for like a really long time but if you don't know somebody really well it's probably not best to do that most of the time also these men that you encounter and the festivals and things like this this I'm talking about for dancers okay there's also of course I'm gearing destroyed dancers because I myself am a dancer but um in general I know these people but if you wouldn't know somebody on a really one-on-one basis and you see them all the time you wouldn't do that and nobody does that in Egypt they will shake hands but even sometimes they don't do that they just not so you know up to you what you want to do your foreign you have a free pass sometimes when you know if you come and you really don't know but I suggest that don't get too friendly with people I've seen girls just hug on men and the festivals and stuff like that and it's not proper so especially if maybe the guy's wife is standing there she wouldn't look really favourably opponent so that's the second thing so the third point I want to make is that sometimes as foreigners we're friendly you know we're just and we're happy when we're on vacation so we come here and we just want to say hi and you know we're more engaging because our societies aren't maybe as closed as a conservative society like this or say maybe in cut out or even Dubai you wouldn't you know even though Dubai is like really international and all these Bahrain and all these Arabic countries there's a rules about the way women act and although as I said we're foreigners we have a free pass they understand about our cultures because they see a lot of tourists so but if you're going into like a store and you want to buy something don't be overly friendly and don't you know smile and you know go to the guy who's the shop owner and be engaging because this is kind of like to them it's kind of like an invitation they think like oh she likes me and I like her and hope we can get together you know so they're gonna just treat you a little bit differently so if you just go in there and you say oh this is what I need that it uh get this serious race on I like that I'd like that instead of like how I am which is you know hi how are you blah blah blah then you know it's just better because women are not women here are not as forward and friendly as we are in the West and that's just the reality it's not nothing wrong with it it's the reality so that's what it is so one more thing I wanted to mention is about religion here so it's almost better if especially if you're an atheist if you say that you just don't speak about religion because um if you are an atheist and you tell somebody here that you don't believe in God and this society is very attached to the religion I think there's like 85% Muslims and like 12 percent the Christians and like 3 percent other or something along those lines but it's very similar to that I have a friend who had a friend visit her and they were speaking about religion and they asked her oh are you Christian and she said no I believe in the theory of evolution and they were like hitting their face like what you don't believe in God and she said no I believe in the theory of evolution and so they asked my friend they said how how couldn't you be friend with this woman that doesn't believe in God so um I'm not going to say all the people in Egypt are like that and in Cairo or in Egypt but there's a majority that would rather you believe and be Buddhists or whatever any kind of religion but have a religion and believe in God and so that's kind of something that's really that was really shocking to me you know because I also did have conversations with people and they they you know if I said oh well I think religion is man-made they were just like are you crazy so yeah so it's just you know something that you should know I think it's pretty important too for people to be aware of that the fourth and final point I wanted to make about foreigners and especially dancers traveling here is um to probably not tell people that you are a dancer and why Egyptians don't see dancing as we do as foreigners – they love their dancers and they love dancing the love dancing so that's part of their culture but a woman who puts a costume on and goes to this ship stage and shows her body especially because this is a Muslim conservative society is not looked upon nicely it's I kind of have to say it's it's almost the same as being a stripper and in the state in a sense that that's exactly the way they view you if you say you're a belly dancer so if you go here there and everywhere and you tell everybody oh I'm Adela dancer they immediately get a an impression about you and I think that it's best if you don't tell anybody they're also the reason being that like before in the movies they used to not show the dancers in a very high regard they always were showing them maybe as prostitutes or maybe as like women that were teasing men and stuff like that so you know this is just the concept of the belly dancer here it's not the way we study and the way we have art and the way we come to Cairo and we really want to learn this dance and actually to be honest with you it's probably like that all over the world you know they a lot of people say they said oh you're a belly dancer ah hmm do you do anything else you know so but even here it's worse you know so so don't tell people you're a dancer it's really not looked favorably upon but thank God we all can come to this country and love the dance and can study with the Egyptian teachers and you know all that aside Cairo is still a really amazing place to visit and you'll really love it and the pyramids are amazing and Luxor is amazing and all the beach cities are amazing and the museum and there's so many things so I just wanted you to cover those couple of points with you so that when you come here you more prepared and you know things so hope you like the video and leave a comment below if you want to say anything or have any questions and I'll see you in the next video

37 thoughts on “Culture Shock Egypt (Things you SHOULD know about Egyptian culture)

  1. I’m excited to explore the Egyptian culture. Visiting Egypt soon and look forward to connecting with Egyptians.

  2. This makes sense. Thanks for the tips! I’m not Egyptian nor Muslim, but I tend to get a little suspicious when I receive compliments on things that I own. The evil eye concept makes sense to me.

  3. Ty so much for the advice, I was gonna get my stupid self to fly over there and have this huge smile on my face greeting everyone I saw 😂😬

  4. FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION ; A 2016 survey by the U.N. Children’s Fund showed that 87 percent of women and girls aged 15-49 in Egypt have undergone the procedure.

  5. FYI because we are a Muslim country you have to say (Mashallah) before you say (you have a beautiful house(or whatever), It's not a culture it's something religious :),
    for the story, you have just mentioned it is something called (Hassad) even if you don't mean it, by human nature it is some sort of negative energy from the eye itself (it's in all humans) which mentioned in our Book (Holy Quran) and to make it positive or to neglect/avoid its effect you have to say (Mashallah).
    If you don't know the person/family for a long time, yeah you can't just kiss the man not in front of his wife and not even without her around but we(ARABS) love children and it's ok to kiss and hug them emotionally which all of the ARABS do even if you are foreign and I know you for more than 4 days I could do that and if that happens it means I do trust your family and I do love your family like my own this is how to show by being humble and extremely friendly.
    Sorry to say that but women are much much friendly more than women in the west, but the problem in ARAB women they are jealous of their husbands.
    In Egypt, the majority of us actually read and searched all the religions so when you say you don't believe in religion some are just shocked like( how they are from the west which means as we see on the media and such things that they are civilized) and yet they didn't even search as we (the poor and not civilized people as per your media images about us) shows. so before you speak about religion YES you must read and learn them first so you can have a debate.

  6. The evil eye is right across the Muslim world, they actually believe in this rubbish. If you complement someone it's because you wish them well. I went to Egypt and absolutely loved every moment, I use to live in the middle East so knew how to behave and the culture.

  7. The real Egyptians were Black the children's of HAM the book of Genius! So was the original Jews black who are Black Americans today Deuteronomy 28

  8. I liked the video. It will save time for me to explain things to people sometimes. I'll just send them that video. Also we have 100 of thousands who doesn't believe in God 😀

  9. Can you say you're Taoist? And end it there? I'm an Atheist but Taoist too, Atheism, to me, only says what you don't believe, it doesn't say what you believe. The Way is what I believe in, so it more tells you my ethics. ^_^

  10. Wearing that evil eye necklace isn’t Islamic or sunnah of prophet Muhammad’s SWA it shirk to say I wear to protect yourself only Allah can protect u not a evil eye necklace

  11. Lol, I went to Egypt about 3 years ago, I think I was friendly, I may give the wrong impression, I understand now. 🙁

  12. One thing.. EVERYONE WILL TRY TO RIP YOU OFF AND ITS ALWAYS A GOD DAMN BRIBE. I'd say about 80% are snakes. From my experience. They act like they want to be nice there is no courtesy there is no heard they act so they can suck the last penny out of you. Islam is a joke

  13. Thank you for this video. I am coming to Egypt in January and am super excited! I have been watching everything I can about being a foreign woman in Egypt as I am traveling solo. I will be with a tour group, but I have a feeling I will stay longer after the tour is over.

  14. That IS really rude that you'd comment on a child "eating so much." I can understand why the family would be upset with you. Can't you??

  15. Oh, I'm really glad because of the existence of this video, I need to do a work related with egyptian culture, and you made my mind clear. Thank you.

  16. Hi! I'm gaping to Egypt next month and I was wondering if I could use crop tops, short sleeves, shorts and skirts considering the fact that it's very hot and I don't know what's proper and I don't want to offend anyone 🙂

  17. Do I have to wear a hijab there? I would wear a long sleave shirt and pants. But I wore a headscarf before and hated it!

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