Public parks, outdoor spaces, beaches, zoos and Nile cruises in Egypt were filled with millions of visitors on Monday to mark ancient Egyptian spring festival, also known as the Sham el-Nessim.
Since the very early hours of the morning, Egyptians nationwide flocked to their planned destinations to welcome the spring amid tight security beef-up across the North African country.
Sham el-Nessim, which means in English “breathing the breeze,” is a one-day Egyptian public holiday marking the beginning of spring.
It always falls on the Monday after the Eastern Christian Easter and is celebrated by Muslims and Christians alike.
The name of the holiday is derived from the Egyptian name of the Harvest Season, known as Shemu, which means a day of creation.
During the feast, Ancient Egyptians used to offer salted fish, lettuce and onions to their deities. This tradition is still followed by Egyptians nowadays.
Facing potential security threats and terror attacks, some Egyptians see that the celebration should be used as a message to promote tourism and prove that Egypt is safe.
Tourism in Egypt, a main source of income, was heavy blown following the Russian airplane crash in North Sinai last October, and thereafter the suspension of flights to Egypt by several countries, including Britain and Russia.