ca. 32 million (2008)40% of Egypt's total population
|Regions with significant populations|
|Egypt||ca. 21 million (2008 estimate)|
|Sa'idi Arabic, Egyptian Arabic|
|Mainly: Islam, Coptic Orthodox Christianity and a very small minority of Bahá'ís.|
A Ṣa‘īdi (Arabic: صعيدى) is a person from Upper Egypt (Arabic: صعيد مصر Ṣa‘īd). Approximately 40% of Egyptians live in Upper Egypt, and 80% of Egypt's poverty is concentrated in Upper Egypt. Millions of upper Egyptians have migrated to Lower Egypt for work opportunities. The Sa'idi people are traditionally rural.
The word literally means "from Ṣa‘īd" (i.e. Upper Egypt), and can also refer to a form of music originating there, or to the dialect spoken by Sa'idis. The Arabic word Ṣa‘īd, as a geographical term, means "highland, upland, plateau". The suffix "-i" denotes the adjective. The word Ṣa‘īdi is pronounced in the dialect itself as [sˤɑˈʕiːdi] or [sˤɑˈʕiːdej] and the plural is [sˤɑˈʕɑːjda] or [sˤɑˈʕɑːjde], while pronounced in Egyptian Arabic (Northern Egyptian) as [sˤeˈʕiːdi] and the plural is [sˤɑˈʕɑjdɑ].
In the Sahidic (Upper Egyptian) dialect of Coptic, the name for a person from Upper Egypt is ⲣⲉⲙⲣⲏⲥ (pronounced rem/rīs) meaning "person of the South" or ⲣⲉⲙ(ⲡ)ⲙⲁⲣⲏⲥ (pronounced rem/pma/rīs or rem/ma/rīs) "person of (the) place of the south (i.e. Upper Egypt)" .
Stereotypes and jokes
Ṣa‘īdis and their dialect are the subject of numerous Egyptian ethnic jokes. They are popularly assumed to be rural simpletons, physically stronger and less clever than other Egyptians. An example of such stereotyping is the box office hit Ṣa‘īdi fil-Gama‘a al-Amrikiya ("A Sa'idi in the American University", i.e. the American University in Cairo) (1998) starring Mohamed Henedi.
Religion in Upper Egypt
The region has a large Coptic population and a rich Coptic history. For instance, Sahidic was the leading Coptic dialect in the pre-Islamic period. In the last few decades the high proportion of Copts in Upper Egypt has enabled some Christians to hold prominent political posts there. For instance, Qena Governorate had a Coptic governor in 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
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- Zuhur, Sherifa (2001). Colors of Enchantment. American University in Cairo Press. p. 456 pages. ISBN 977-424-607-1.
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- WE Crum, A Coptic Dictionary, 1939, p. 300
- Sa'eedi fil gamaa el amrekeia on IMDb