By: Marwa Schumann

Are you an exchange student in Egypt? Or maybe a foreign teacher in an international school? Whether a guest professor at an Egyptian university or a tourist, foreigners visiting Egyptian homes often have questions they are too shy to ask their Egyptian host families.

Don’t worry. Here is a list with the answers to the 7 most commonly asked questions about the Egyptian home.

Rule 1: Egyptians are masters of recycling

You will find evidence in the kitchen in the form of old jam jars filled with salt, pepper and tea, in the fridge in the form of old Cola and juice bottles used for drinking water, in the bedroom in the form of old plastic and paper bags stored underneath the bed mattress and in the living room in the form of a cookie box filled with buttons and needles.


Rule 2: Egyptians value their furniture more than anything else in life

Egyptians cover their furniture with old bed sheets; some families even sit on the floor to protect it. If you visit an Egyptian family, they will probably take off the bed sheets covering the furniture just for you. But if you are a good friend, they won’t bother.


Rule 3: One of the biggest religious sins\ insults to God in Egypt is a shoe facing upside down

A much bigger insult is a slipper facing upside down.


Rule 4: The “niche” is the most sacred piece of furniture in any Egyptian home and the pride of any Egyptian housewife

It is a big cupboard filled with glass and crystal items that no one ever dares to touch. I repeat: do not dare to touch.The niche or your life!


Rule 5: Egyptian mothers are well known for their magical superpowers when it comes to finding your lost things

Their magic spell “What if I come and find it?” is sufficient to make lost things appear in just 3 seconds.

Rule 6: In Egypt people believe that sweeping the floor at night brings bad luck

As clean as Egyptians may be, they will never dare to sweep the floor at night. This only brings bad luck. So you better be careful when you plan to clean your room if you are staying with an Egyptian host family, because you don’t want to curse the house.


Rule 7: Fallen hair should be flushed in the toilet rather than thrown in the garbage bin

Chances are that someone could step on it which means your hair will never grow any longer again. Others believe that your fallen hair could be used to cast evil magic spells on you.


Modern Egyptian homes are not much different from their ancient Pharaonic temples; both are sacred, superstitious and filled with magic. Next time you are planning to stay with an Egyptian host family, prepare yourself to enjoy the warm and cozy family atmosphere but don’t dare to touch the holy niche!