Sham el Nessim food is prepared to mark the special occasion of Sham el Nessim, or Sham Ennisim, an Egyptian national holiday which celebrates the beginning of spring. The occasion always falls on the day next to the Eastern Christian Easter. The celebration of the day can be traced back as far as 2700 B.C. when it was considered one of the most important religious festivals. Sham el Nessim literally means 'smelling of breeze'.
Traditional Sham el Nessim Recipes and Food Menu
The main feature of the celebration is preparing and eating of traditional foods. The dishes eaten on this day consist mainly of green onions or scallions, Fiseekh which is a smelly salted fish, boiled colored eggs, lettuce and termis or Lupini Beans.
Significance of Sham el Nessim Recipes
Green onions have a special significance on the occasion. It has been found in ancient times and has been an important part of the festivities owing to the belief that it helped cure the son of one of the pharaohs from a mysterious illness. In modern times, scallions are believed to keep the evil eye away and prevent envy. Salted Fish, which is also an important Sham el Nessim food has been a symbol of welfare to Egyptians. It was believed that offerings of fish were made to the ancient gods to ensure a good harvest. Salted Fish symbolizes fertility and prosperity.
Boiled eggs are another must-have for the day. They are a symbol of new life and luck. Before anyone steps out of the house, the eggs are colored.