A Very Loud and Bright Egyptian Ritual

You’re at home going about your business when a noise from the street piques your curiosity. And your blood pressure. And that niggling headache you had managed to subside with a couple of painkillers? It’s threatening to return. Because it’s not just any noise; it’s the deafening sound of multiple speakers blasting Egyptian music, accompanied with the sounds of gunfire every now and then.

On closer inspection, one can instantly spot the rows of chairs for invited guests to witness the inauguration of a new business venture. But this isn’t just a celebration. This is also a chance for the new business to promote their new shop, whatever it may be. Another clue that this is a new shop opening is the ever-present fairy-like-lights hanging from the building above the premises. Probably due to open the next day, the loud music and the lights are a shout out to the neighborhood and passing traffic to check them out.

If you are lucky enough to live in a neighbourhood that is governed by a curfew for shops to keep the music on– there is usually a license that must be obtained otherwise neighbours may complain and call in local law enforcement– (yes, I’m still talking about Egypt here!) then they should ideally end their celebration before midnight.
Not only is this an excuse for a party, it is also a cheaper and more effective way to advertise.

So if you ever find yourself in this situation, don’t fret. It’s not a concert, or music wars between two neighbors to see who can be the loudest. No, it’s just a local shop opening for the first time. And this is how they celebrate (and advertise) in Egypt. They’ve been doing it this way for years, so who are we to step in and complain.

(That is, unless, the music goes on until the wee hours of the morning. Then you have permission to complain all you like. And purchase a couple of noise-canceling headphones.)

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