Fanous (Egyptian Arabic: فانوس IPA: [fæˈnuːs], pl. فوانيس [fæwæˈniːs]; also spelled in Egyptian Dialect as Fanos, Phanos and Fanoos) is a term of Greek origins, transliterated to candle. Widely known as "Fanous Ramadan" Egyptian Arabic: فانوس رمضان. The word "Fanous" means 'light' or 'lantern', and was historically used in reference to 'light of the world' and as a symbol of hope as 'light in darkness'.
In Ancient times it was similar to the lamp, and may be lit by either a candle or oil. The fanous developed from the torches used in the Pharaonic festivals celebrating the rising of the star Sirius. For five days, the Ancient Egyptians celebrated the birthdays of Osiris, Horus, Isis, Seth and Nephtys - one on each day - by lighting the streets with fanous-like torches. The use of torches or Candles were also used in the early time of Christianity. This is noted by the well renowned Egyptian historian Al-Maqrizi (1364 - 1442), who notes in his book "Al Mawaiz wa al-'i'tibar bi dhikr al-khitat wa al-'athar" that these torches or candles were used in the Christmas occasions too for celebrations.
The widely known form of the "Fanous" used now in almost all Muslim countries at the Holy month of Ramadan with many colorful and beautiful shapes, was first used by the Muslim faith Egyptians celebrating the coming of Ramadan since the Fatimid era and decorating streets and homes with them.
Fanous is also widely used all over the world especially in Asian regions, not just for a specific religion purposes but also for names of people or decorative purposes; in houses, restaurants, hotels, halls etc. It is made as a bunch of lights arranged in different designs and shapes. Metal and glass are mostly used for its making.