Egyptian Culture


  • A person entering into any group scenario should greet those already present. Handshakes are expected in a situation involving people you are familiar with.
  • Handshakes may be held only lightly, but are often prolonged. They are generally accompanied with a wide smile and direct eye contact.
  • First names tend not to be used unless one has been invited to do so. The common form of address is the use of titles (e.g. Mr, Mrs, Dr, etc.) along with one’s first name or surname depending on the relationship.
  • Close friends may address each other in informal settings by first name but may add a title to the first name in formal settings.
  • A common phrase that accompanies a greeting is ‘salaam aleikum’ (‘may peace be with you’), which should be replied to with ‘waaleikum us salam’ (‘may peace be with you also’). However, the exact phrase varies by town/city and dialect. For example, in some areas it is more common to say ‘Sbaa’ el Kher’ (good morning) and ‘Masaa’ el Kher’ (good evening).
  • Often, how people greet one another is based on the class, religion and gender of the person. If unsure about the most appropriate greeting, it is best to follow the lead of the Egyptian you are meeting.
  • Greetings among Egyptians can be quite lengthy, with people inquiring into their counterpart’s health, well-being of their family, etc.

Greetings based on gender

  • Men greeting men: When meeting for the first time, a light handshake with the right hand is common. Friends and relatives tend to kiss on both cheeks. This may be accompanied with a hug and a back slap while shaking hands with the right hand.
  • Women greeting women: When meeting for the first time, a simple nod of acknowledgement or a light handshake with the right hand is common. Friends and relatives tend to kiss on both cheeks while shaking hands.
  • Greetings between men and women: A handshake may be acceptable in certain circumstances and the woman must extend her hand first. If she does not, a man should bow his head as a sign of acknowledgement. Kissing on the cheek is acceptable if they are very closely related.
Download this Cultural Profile

Too busy to read it right now?

You can download this cultural profile in an easy-to-read PDF format that can be printed out and accessed at any time.

  • Population
    [2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Arabic [official]
  • Religions
    Islam [predominantly Sunni] (90.0%)
    Coptic Orthodox Christianity (9.0%)
    Other Christianity (1.0%)
    [2015 est.]
  • Ethnicities
    Egyptian (99.6%)
    Other (0.4%)
    [2006 census]
  • Cultural Dimensions
  • Australians with Egyptian Ancestry
    50,517 [2016 census]
Egyptians in Australia
  • Population
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Egypt.
  • Average Age
  • Gender
    Male (52.0%)
    Female (48.0%)
  • Religion
    Oriental Orthodox Christianity (36.2%)
    Catholic Christianity (21.9%)
    Eastern Orthodox Christianity (14.8%)
    Islam (12.9%)
    Other (14.3%)
  • Ancestry
    Egyptian (47.1%)
    Greek (13.6%)
    Italian (6.6%)
    Maltese (4.4%)
    Other (28.3%)
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Arabic (56.0%)
    English (20.3%)
    Greek (10.3%)
    Italian (6.8%)
    Other (6.7%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 88.7% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (50.4%)
    Victoria (34.2%)
    Queensland (5.7%)
    Western Australia (5.1%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (75.9%)
    2001-2006 (10.1%)
    2007-2011 (10.3%)
Country Flag Country Egypt