Home Inspirations The Story behind the Eideya

The Story behind the Eideya

Nadeen Hossam - Aug 2020

Everyone waits for Eid for the festive decorations, mood, new clothes and of course all the “eidiyat” we receive from our beloved relatives. Eid is associated with Muslims, where people who are affluent enough travel to Kabba to perform hajj. The “eidiya” has always been in Egypt since generations, with its name changing throughout times and different types of gifts serving as “eidiya”.

Originally, the “eidiya” is derived from the word “Eid”which means “giving” or “kindness”, the colloquial word is used  by people for themoney and gifts that were distributed by the state during the two seasons of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.Also, the names given to the word “eidiya” differed throughout the ages.


According to historical accounts, the tradition of “eidiya” during Eid originated in Egypt during the Fatimid era, and they were known by several names at the time, among them were "drawings" and "expansion", and the Fatimids were keen to distribute cash and clothes to citizens during the seasons of both Eid el Fitr and Eid el Adha. Eid el Fitr is followed after the holy month Ramadan, hence, the name “fitr” and Eid al Adhanamed after the traditional ritual which is sacrificing a sheep with the intention of giving people in need meat, hence the word “adha”.


The tradition of “eidiya” continued throughout the Mumluk realm, however, the name changed to Jamic "الجامكية،which specify to “buying new clothes”, hence, the concept of  buying new clothes during Eid. By time the word to was altered to “eidiya”.


The value of it varied according to the social status. Some people offered  “eidiya”  in the forms of gold, dinars, while others were receiving dinars of silver, while the princes and senior statesmen were offering them “eidiya” in the form of a plate filled with golden dinars in addition to candy and fine food, as a gift from the ruler.


But during the Ottoman era, the way to offer Eidiya varied greatly, instead of being presented to the princes in the form of gold dinars, they became presented as gifts and cash for children.

This tradition has continued to the present day, but it is currently being presented in an attractive and innovative way.

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