|Official name||شم النسيم Sham an-Nassim|
|Observed by||Egyptians, Copts|
|Type||Cultural, seasonal, and agricultural|
|Date||The day after Eastern Christian Easter|
|2018 date||9 April|
|2019 date||29 April|
Sham Ennessim (Arabic: شم النسيم, Sham Al Nassim or Sham an-Nassim, IPA: [ˈʃæmm ennɪˈsiːm]) Coptic: Ϭⲱⲙ ̀ⲛⲛⲓⲥⲓⲙ, Shom Ennisim) is an Egyptian national holiday marking the beginning of spring. It always falls on the day after the Eastern Christian Easter (following the custom of the largest Christian denomination in the country, the Coptic Orthodox Church).
Despite the Christian-related date, the holiday is celebrated by Egyptians of all religions, so it is considered a national festival, rather than a religious one. The main features of the festival are:
- People spend all day out picnicking in any space of green, public gardens, on the Nile, or at the zoo.
- Traditional food eaten on this day consists mainly of fesikh (a fermented, salted and dried grey mullet), lettuce, scallions or green onions, tirmis, and colored boiled eggs.
After the Christianization of Egypt, the festival became associated with the other Christian spring festival, Easter. Over time, Shemu morphed into its current form and its current date, and by the time of the Islamic conquest of Egypt, the holiday was settled on Easter Monday. The Islamic calendar being lunar and thus unfixed relative to the solar year, the date of Sham el-Nessim remained on the Christian-linked date. As Egypt became Arabized, the term Shemu found a rough phono-semantic match in Sham el-Nessim, or "Smelling/Taking In the Zephyrs," which fairly accurately represents the way in which Egyptians celebrate the holiday.