Known for its pyramids, the Sahara Desert, and Nile River, Egypt is definitely a country worth of a visit. And in today’s article, we are going to discover more about this marvelous place and talk about the Egyptian culture, one of the most extensive in the world and that can be divided in two: ancient and current.
Unlike other cultures, the Egyptian culture arouses curiosity and, even today, great discoveries are made. This is why professionals in fields such as paleontology or archaeology, as well as historians, continue to do research.
In this sense, the cultural heritage of Egypt is so magnificent that it has managed to influence the West, we see it in the idea of the soul, the judgment of the dead, and the calendar. In addition, Egypt began in the Neolithic age and evolved for 3,000 years, gradually adopting Christian customs.
In ancient times, politics played a prominent role. It was monarchic, absolutist and theocratic. The power was exercised by a person called pharaoh, master of all men, owner of all lands and all waters of the Nile, who lived with privileged members such as nobles, officials, priests, and warriors. As for the society, it was divided into social classes: priests, scribes, warriors, people, and slaves.
Today, Egypt’s cultural heritage has been influenced by the West. Do you want to know more about this topic? Keep reading!
Characteristics of the Egyptian culture
Religion was quite important in the culture of ancient Egypt. Thus, people believed in gods like Horus, Ra, Osiris, Set, Isis and Anubis. They were worshipped through magical ceremonies. These gods were often represented in the form of a human body and an animal head.
Currently, the predominant religious culture in Egypt is Islam, which is also the official religion. But there are also minority groups that profess beliefs typical of Chaldean Catholics, Coptic Orthodox, and Armenian Orthodox.
Egyptian art has the particularity of having a symbolic, religious and funerary character. Throughout history, we can find representations of icons, indeed, many pharaohs use the same graphic code. Art also served to conceptualize and synthesize each of the gods with certain elements that were attributed to them by their followers.
One aspect that stands out in Egyptian art is the way of writing, they used pointed reeds, dipped in a kind of ink for written communication. Three types of writing can be identified: hieroglyphic (composed of signs and images of animals and objects), hieratic (it is an abbreviated form of hieroglyphic that was used only by priests and people of high rank) and demotic (similar to hieratic, but could be used only by the lower classes).
The sculptures allow us to understand what the Egyptian culture was like. The most famous are the colossi, which represent seated pharaohs and are about 80 meters high. Also, the sphinx is known in the sculpture of this country, it is the symbol of the rising sun, with the body of a lion.
The current culture of Egypt is closely related to antiquity. But perhaps what stands out is the use of colorless and transparent glass to make basins for necklaces and bracelets. Or the use of gold, gilt bronze and ivory.
It is worth mentioning the literature, which is experiencing a greater expansion in contemporary times. In this sense, Egyptian novelists and poets were the first to experiment with modern styles in Arabic literature, the most popular genre being vernacular poetry. There are also writers like Nawal El Saadawi, known for her works and feminist activism.
As far as music is concerned, the mamba is popular in Cairo. In other areas, African music is heard. Since the 20th century, Egyptian music has been a means of communicating social and class issues. Dance is also a cultural aspect of Egypt, the most famous being the raqs sharqi or belly dance.
With these few characteristics mentioned above, we are sure that you want to travel to this amazing country. But if you want to learn more about Egypt, come back to check the second part of our article.