As with other parts of Egypt, Siwa has its share of mosquitoes that carry on their nightly raids undaunted. A mosquito net and repellent should help. If you arrive unprepared, however, you can always pick up inexpensive plug-in repellents from the local pharmacy.




 Circumcision (“Tahoor”)

Islam requires boys to be circumcised as part of “tahoor”, or purity, and the day of the circumcision is always a cause for celebration. How the tahoor is celebrated, however, has changed over the years. Traditionally, on the evening before, a silver bracelet was left to soak overnight in a clay pot filled with water. The next day, the boy’s mother would dip her foot in the water to give her patience. That evening after the tahoor, the boy’s head would be shaved and colored with henna. Sheep would be slaughtered and bread prepared to serve to friends and relatives who visit over the next three days. Women relatives are invited to stay over for three days, but men are invited only for meals. As with weddings and baby showers, the girls listen to music and dance. On the third day the guests are given a meal of crushed wheat (“edsheesh”), a sign that the celebration has come to a close. 

These days, the doctor comes to the home of the boy to perform the tahoor, and then the boy is left to sleep for the rest of the day. Some wealthier families will take their children to the larger cities to have the tahoor performed by doctors in modern clinics. Relatives come to congratulate the boy and his parents over the next few days, and give gifts of money.  

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