Egyptian Culture


Basic Etiquette

  • It is considered impolite to point the toe, heel or any part of the foot toward another person. Showing the sole of one’s shoe is also impolite.
  • Modest dress and presentation is highly valued in Egyptian culture.
  • Greetings often occur before any form of social interaction. For example, a person joining a group is expected to greet all those present.
  • Generally, the younger defer to the older through showing respect, not challenging their seniors and using special verbal terms of address for aunts, uncles, grandparents and older non-relatives.
  • If your counterpart identifies as Muslim, it is forbidden to walk in front of someone who is praying or to talk to someone who is currently in prayer.
  • It is expected that one show gratitude when offered a compliment. This is done by responding with an equally respectful compliment on the same subject or, if they are Muslim, wishing Allah’s (God’s) blessings.


  • Not visiting someone for a long period of time is considered a sign of the relationship’s insignificance, especially one’s family.
  • Egyptians generally have a relaxed attitude towards time and strict punctuality is not commonly practised.
  • Adult children who live outside of their parents’ home often visit their parents on Fridays and holidays.
  • When visiting a mosque or someone’s home, one is required to remove their shoes before entering.
  • Egyptians tend to prepare elaborate and lavish meals when they have guests.
  • If invited to an Egyptian’s home, offering good quality chocolates or sweets to the hostess as a token of gratitude is appreciated.
  • If the reason for being invited to an Egyptian’s home is for a dinner party, wait for the host or hostess to indicate the seat they have reserved for you.
  • Guests should always wait for the host to serve them rather than serving themselves.


  • It is considered to be a compliment to take second helpings.
  • Leave a small amount of food on your plate once you have finished eating. This symbolises abundance and serves as a compliment to the host for providing so well.
  • It is not common for people to salt their serving of food as it is considered to be ‘unnecessary’.
  • Complimenting food should be done in a statement rather than a question. For example, questioning the method of the cooking (e.g. ‘how was this made?’) means that one is sceptical of the food.
  • Avoid eating communal food with your left hand, as this hand is generally reserved for personal hygiene. Only the right hand is used when eating food with one’s hands.
  • Alcohol is generally not offered nor is it consumed with food. Only offer alcohol to your Egyptian counterpart if you know that they consume it.
  • It is considered offensive to offer pork to Muslims as pigs and products relating to pigs (such as pork and pig leather) are prohibited in the Islamic religion.

Gift Giving

  • Gifts are generally given and received with both hands or only the right hand.
  • A small gift to your Egyptian counterpart’s children is a welcome gesture.
  • Gifts tend not to be opened when received.
  • Avoid giving flowers as a gift. Flowers tend to be reserved for weddings, the ill or for periods of mourning.
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  • Population
    [2016 est.]
  • Language
    Arabic [official]
  • Religion
    Islam [predominantly Sunni] (90.0%)
    Coptic Orthodox Christianity (9.0%)
    Other Christianity (1.0%)
    [2015 est.]
  • Ethnicity
    Egyptian (99.6%)
    Other (0.4%)
    [Census, 2006]
  • Cultural Dimensions
  • Australians with Egyptian Ancestry
    50,517 [Census, 2016]
Egyptians in Australia
  • Population
    [Census, 2016]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Egypt.
  • Median Age
    [Census, 2016]
  • Gender
    Male (51.7%)
    Female (48.3%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Religion
    Oriental Orthodox Christianity (38.2%)
    Catholic Christianity (17.9%)
    Islam (15.6%)
    Eastern Orthodox Christianity (10.7%)
    Other Religion (10.9%)
    No Religion (3.6%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Ancestry
    Egyptian (54.0%)
    Greek (11.1%)
    Italian (5.6%)
    Maltese (3.7%)
    Other Ancestry (25.6%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Arabic (61.8%)
    English (19.3%)
    Greek (7.6%)
    Italian (4.9%)
    Other Languages (5.6%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 88.6% speak English fluently.
    [Census, 2016]
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (49.6%)
    Victoria (33.4%)
    Queensland (6.2%)
    Western Australia (5.6%)
    Other (5.2%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2007 (73.3%)
    2007 - 2011 (10.8%)
    2012 - 2016 (12.7%)
    [Census, 2016]
Country Flag Country Egypt