Egypt has a great and long history behind it dating back to 3,100 BC. They invented writing using ink and papyrus, built magnificent pyramids, had powerful pharaohs who won incredible wars, and the list goes on.
A lot has changed since then, but still, they have a unique culture and mindset like people from other countries. Thus, if you’re planning to give a gift to an Egyptian friend, you should first learn their customs so that the present will be received with love and happiness.
Giving Personal Gifts in Egypt
These are the rules to follow if you’re surprising your Egyptian friend or loved one with a gift:
- Bring a nice gift when you’re invited to an Egyptian’s house. This may be delicious snacks, pastries, candies, or fresh fruit.
Alternatively, you can give a great-quality small and practical gift to the host’s children, such as a printed tee, groovy wallet, comfortable slippers, or others.
- Always give gifts with your right hand. However, you can use both hands if the gift is heavy.
- If you’ve been staying with a family in Egypt as a guest, it would be customary to buy them a premium gift from or that represents your country as a way of saying thank you to them.
- Make it a point to wrap your gift. This is usually done twice: the first is using ordinary paper to cover the gift, and the second, a bright or festive wrapper over it or the box.
Also, using white wrapping paper, unlike in Oriental cultures, are common and good in Egypt.
- Never give a person flowers. This is only done at weddings or to comfort sick people.
- Don’t bring alcohol to a Muslim Egyptian’s home unless you know that they drink.
- Don’t directly give a woman a gift because she may think it’s too personal. Rather, the gift should come from you but by way of your wife, mother, or sister.
Giving Business Gifts in Egypt
Look below for the proper etiquette of business gifting in Egypt.
- Personalize your business gift, preferably with the company name or logo engraving. This can make your gift to your business associate or client extra special.
- A compass is a common gift for business. That’s because Muslims always pray while facing the east regardless of where they are.
- Give gifts to your business partners or acquaintances humbly and willingly.
- As soon as you arrive in the country, you should hand your gift to your business associate.
- Avoid gifting an overly expensive or fancy gift as the recipient may take this as a form of bribe.
- Don’t give an Egyptian any form of art that depicts nature or natural scenes. This is against Islam since they believe this imitates the work of God.