Every April Egyptians celebrate this national holiday marking the beginning of spring. This tradition started more than 4,500 years ago. Sham El Nessim derives from the Egyptian name of the harvest season, known as Shemu, which means the day of creation. There is no exact date of this holiday because it is confirmed annually by sighting the sun in relation to the Great Pyramid. After Christianity has been accepted in Egypt, the festival became related to the Christian Easter celebration. Sham El Naseem is celebrated by Egyptians regardless of religion by both Christians and Muslims.
Traditionally, as in ancient times, people prepare salted fish, lettuce, and onions on the day of Shemu. The salted fish (Feseegh) symbolises prosperity and fertility and the lettuce and green onions (scallions) symbolise the hope for early spring. Some Egyptians also eat coloured boiled eggs, a symbol of fertility and rebirth, and Lupini Beans called Tirmis. People living in Upper Egypt continue the tradition of bathing in the Nile to rid themselves of the waste of the past year. Egyptians like to spend this holiday picnicking in public gardens, on the Nile River, at the zoo, or at the beach.