CAIRO – 6 April 2019: Some images of Renga
(herring) and Feseekh
(fermented fish) cakes appeared on social media platforms in different colors and shapes, while people’s reactions over this extraordinary dessert-is differed. As how could a fermented, salted and dried fish be turned into cake?!
is a perennial Sham El-Nessim’s favorite. Garlic and herbs in this recipe bring out the flavor of the fish. Serve with piping hot baladi bread, spring onions and lemon wedges.
Every year doctors and nutritionists plead with the public not to eat fiseekh
(salted fish)—but to no avail.
has been a Sham El-Nessim tradition for many decades, and Egyptians are not going to start giving up their salty favorite anytime soon. With that said, numerous cases of food poisoning get reported each year, so to avoid getting sick at least make sure you have your bases covered. Buy your fiseekh
from someone credible. Go to an established fasakhany
and never, ever, buy off a street seller.
Sham El-Nessim is an old spring festival celebrated by Egyptians since 2,700 BC (the third dynasty of the Old Kingdom).
This festival does not have any religious background. Sham El-Nessim is usually a national holiday, marking the beginning of spring and coming after Easter.
The festival is related to the agricultural background of ancient Egyptians. The name Sham El-Nessim or (inhaling the breeze) is derived from the Coptic language, which borrowed some of its words from the ancient Egyptian language. The original pronunciation is Tshom Ni Tshom
, which means garden meadows.
In ancient times, Egyptians celebrated the holiday at the spring equinox, the date of which could be determined by looking at the direction of the sunlight at sunrise over the pyramids. When Egypt was a Christian country under the rule of the Roman Empire, Sham El-Nessim joined the Christian Easter celebrations. However, when it became an Arab country, Sham El-Nessim stayed on its Easter date and has been scheduled like most Muslim festivals celebrated every year.
On the day, Egyptians head out to parks, gardens and zoos with their families to enjoy their traditional meals of salted fish, onions and eggs. They also enjoy celebrating Easter and Sham El- Nessim in different places in Cairo and other places all over Egypt.