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Superstition and Ancient Traditions
Superstitions are present in every country of the modern world. And most people, whether they will admit it or not, follow some sort of superstition– whether it’s from a person’s religion or personal ancestry.
Superstitions are present in every country of the modern world. And most people, whether they will admit it or not, follow some sort of superstition–
Many Egyptians believe in the Envy because it is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. Some Egyptians believe that they can protect themselves from it by wearing the color blue or keeping it near to them. Many people, whether they live in rural or urban areas, believe in the Evil Eye.
The Saboo3 is one of the most famous traditions in Egypt. In this celebration, the women of the family surround the newborn baby and gently rock him/her back and forth. While doing so, they whisper in the baby’s ear to “Listen to the words of your mother and not the words of your father”.
As in the western world, there are many things in Egypt that are considered to be signs of bad luck or misfortune.
1) Black Cats, Owls, Ravens, or Black Dogs
2) Birds – If a bird flies into your home then it is an omen of death!
3) Dog – If a dog suddenly barks for no apparent reason in a house that has a sick person then it means that death is coming.
4) Bee- If a bee flies into your home than you will get a visitor, but if you kill the bee than the visit will turn nasty.
5) Finger Nails – Cutting your nails on Friday or Sunday could be very unlucky.
6) Ladder – Bad things will ensue if you walk under a ladder.
7) Ears – A burning ear means someone is talking about you. Remember the rhyme: “Left for Love, Right for Spite”
8) Wedding – If the groom drops the ring during a wedding than the wedding will certainly be a failure.
In this superstition, a person (usually female) is possessed by an evil spirit. The Zar has become highly controversial as it is not based on scientific fact, making it hard to endure in societies that are becoming more and more affluent to science and technology.
Magic and Pharaohs
Pharaohs have always been famous for using magic and ghosts in order to protect their tombs. Many stories exist of archeologists who opened the tomb of a mummy only to die of a mysterious disease days later. Pharaohs were also believed to have used ghosts and evil spirits in ancient wars aimed at expanding their empire.
Stories throughout Generations
Grandparents tell their grandchildren stories of when they were young, and many of these stories involve an element of the supernatural. Although being told by others that these stories are untrue – and only intended to make us go to bed earlier – it’s too late, the stories remain in the mind forever. Stories that are commonly told include “El-Nadaha”
The cinema industry both reflects and encourages the belief in superstitions throughout Egypt. Since the very beginning of the Egyptian Cinema Industry, the superstitious culture found in Egyptian Society has been put on display. In films like El-Ta3weez and El-Ens wa El-Gin, viewers can see first-hand many of the Egyptian beliefs.
Despite living in the 21st century, many Egyptians still have a firm belief in the existence of magic. Why? Because it is mentioned in not only the Holy Qur’an but also the Holy Bible. For Egyptian Society, magic is only used for evil and is not the light-hearted, fun type of magic that you find in films like Harry Potter. Yet, despite this belief, there are still many commercials and ads on television advertising the use of magic to see into the future through cards or horoscopes.
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Arabeya Association is Arabic language school located in Egypt and with branches in Cairo and Giza. Our school specializes in intensive Arabic language and cross-cultural exchange programs with a variety of universities and institutions across the world.