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My Identity vs. My Egyptian Identity: Benjamin Serradas


Growing up I learned Spanish, Portuguese, and English as my primary languages. Around where I live there are several languages being spoken with Spanish and Portuguese being the most spoken next to English. Language is really important to me as it is also a huge part of culture. 


Though I am not culturally an American I mostly eat American food as it is everywhere. We only tend to eat special cultural foods for events and holidays. Still food is important as it makes you feel more connected to your culture.


In America we have a K through 12 education system that is publicly funded. This is very important to my identity because it shaped who I was growing up. I want to a Charter school which is basically a nicer public school, but because of this I had classmates from a bunch of surrounding towns.             


Growing up I was raised as a Catholic. This meant going to mass every Sunday and even going to Sunday school. My family was also pretty involved in church as we were part of programs to take care of the homeless and also teach summer bible school.  


America is the home of pop music but for me I mostly listen to rap music.  Music is important to me because it can always be playing, taking a boring job and making it better. 


Sports are an important part of entertainment in America, and it draws millions of people. While I didn’t play many sports growing up, I live in New England. New England is home to many successful teams leading to a sense of pride for my teams.       



A large part of America and me is its unique style of government. We have the constitution which gives important rights like freedom of speech which other countries lack. 


One of the parts that makes America America is the fact that it is a cultural melting pot. Where I live especially there are several immigrants making it a large part of my life. At my school there were several of my classmates who were born in other countries or first generation.


Money is very important in any society. In the US it is hard to do anything without currency. Money is also one of the most important things in a person’s life since they can’t live a very good life without it. 

Fashion/ Dress

Being from New England we experience the full force of the seasons, because of this I have clothes for each season, but when going out I am typically in jeans and tee shirts. When it gets colder I wear hoodies frequently. 


I live close to both Boston and Providence allowing me to go to either quite easily. I went to Providence frequently to watch theatre shows. Boston is full of history and life making it a great place to visit.  


In America the current President is Joe Biden. This is very relevant as the news is dominated with stories about the president and what they are doing. The President is extremely important as they are more than just the leader of America but also a global one.          



In Egypt the main language spoken is Arabic. The ancient Egyptian language evolved into the Coptic language. While it is not spoken regularly it is used for liturgical ceremonies in the church.      



Many Egyptians eat many things but their dishes typically have rice, beans, and grains. They also eat many vegetables since they grow well in the fertile Nile region. While they do have access to meats like chicken and lamb most of Egyptians’ diets are vegetarian due to religious reasons and the high cost of meats. Ancient Egyptians ate many of the same things as their main source of food comes from the Nile. 


In Egypt education is only mandatory from 4-14 years old. Egypt also has a free education system but the private one is much better than the state run option. Since I would be required to go for nine years this would still be a large part of my life. In ancient Egypt school typically started around the age of 7, with mostly boys going to school. There were some girls of wealthy families that went to school but this was not common. 


The dominate faith is Islam in Egypt. They make up 90% of the total religion there. The second most popular is Coptic Christianity at 9%. Since this present is so low I would probably be Muslim. The ancient Egyptian religion was far more complicated as it had several gods and a pharaoh who they believed to hold divine power.  Since the pharaoh was so intertwined with religion they would have the people build many monuments to the gods like the Luxor temple and Abu Simbel. 



Egypt’s music is very important in the region. Egypt’s music can be traced back to the Neolithic period. At this time it was used in religious practices mostly. Religious music is still extremely important to this day for Egypt’s music scene.  


Egypt, like most countries outside of America, has a love for soccer. They also love tennis and squash.  Egyptians watch soccer on an almost daily basis as it is by far the most popular sport. While America might have more major sports teams Egyptians seem to care more about soccer. In Ancient Egypt many of the sports were survival skill related with sports like hunting, rowing, and fishing. 


Egypt has had a growing number of refugees and immigrants. Most of them are originally from Arabian countries. They also have several from African nations. Most of these people are running to the better economic opportunities Egypt has to offer. While they didn’t have migration the way we would typically think of it, Ancient Egypt had plenty of foreigners. People like the Hyksos who were foreign invaders who would stay and eventually the cultures would mix. 



In the Egyptian system of government the president is elected for six years. They also have a parliament. They have two houses, the house of representatives and the consultative council. In Egypt they have several political parties with over twenty active parties with seats in parliament. In Ancient Egypt the people were ruled by the Pharaoh and they had complete control since they were the connection between them and the gods.  


The currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound. It takes about 16 Egyptian pounds to equal one U.S. dollar. The inflation rate in Egypt used to be really high at about 20% but as of last year it has dropped down to 5%. If it continues like this the Egyptian pound will be worth more. Since Egypt has been around for so long they have had quite a few systems of currency. Like many societies they had a barter system but this was replaced with the exchange of metal. Coined metal would come later on during the Ptolemaic kingdom where they made one universal currency. 


In Egypt they were mostly the same stuff that we in America wear. Granted it is really hot there so they have to focus on staying cool while also trying to not have the sun hit them directly. At night it gets extremely cold making them have a need for heavier clothes during this time. In Ancient Egypt during the old kingdom men would wear loincloths while women would wear a sheath dress. Egyptian took pride in their appearance and would stay very clean.  


In Egypt there are several cultural cities like Cairo, Luxor, and Alexandria. They have been around for thousands of years. Cairo is one of the most important in Africa as it is the capital of Egypt. During the ancient Egyptian time the cities like Memphis and Thebes were the most important, Memphis was located in a geographic location that allowed it to be easily defended and give good access to trade.


Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is the current president of Egypt. His job is very similar to the U.S. ‘s president. He is the commander of the armed forces. The Egyptian president lives in Heliopolis Palace in Cairo Egypt. In Ancient Egypt they had several famous leaders like Ramses and Tutankhamun.  

Sam Olson Final Project: Egypt VS USA

I live in the Americas, and Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas. Christopher Columbus helped shape my identity by discovering the place that I live.
Ancient Egypt is one of the worlds oldest societies. They were a super power in the ancient world. Many foreigners may have an opinion about me because of my countries ancient roots



Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, declaring that the USA is independent of Great Britain in 1776. This was the birth of the country I live in.
The great pyramids of Giza is a wonder of the ancient world. Every time I see them they remind me of my countries extensive past.





The United States Constitution describes the laws that I live by. It also shows other countries how it wants its own citizens to behave.
In ancient times, the Nile assisted the Egyptians with everything they did. This still true today with almost everyone in Egypt living near it. The Nile brings life into Egypt.
My Grandfather fought in the world wars. Without these wars my grandfather might not have had my father. The world wars also helped cement the USA as a superpower in the global arena.


My parents shaped me to who I am today. They taught me my values and beliefs.
The pharaohs were treated as gods in ancient times. They were the sole leaders of Egypt and people would do anything they said.
I have three siblings. My twin brother Simon, and my older brother and sister, Charlie and Grace. I have grown up with them my whole life and they helped shape me into who I am today.
Almost all of Egypt is a desert. This makes it almost impossible to live anywhere in Egypt without being close to the nile or another body of water. This makes most of my countries population concentrated in one area.



I have been with my girlfriend, Lily, for more than two years now. Although she goes to a different college, we still stay very close and she is my best friend.
The leader of Egypt is president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. A country can be judged by their leader an he is the leader of Egypt.



I am a presbyterian, a sect of the christian religion. A lot or even most of the people in the USA would consider themselves Christian. Christianity teaches people values, and a lot of Americans live by these values.
Muhammad Ali Pasha brought Egypt into the modern world. He dominated several foreign countries demanding land and power from Europe. He also forced Egypt to change to more of a technologically advanced country.
A country can be evaluated by their leader. For four years President Trump has lead the United States and many countries may have a negative connotation towards the USA because of that. President Elect Joe Biden is supposed to go into office in a couple months. Hopefully he can support our national picture.


I attended University School in Cleveland since the 7th grade. US has shaped me by bringing me my friends and several good mentors. US has taught me how to interact with the world around me.
Europeans have had control over Egypt for centuries. Several times in our past we have tried to get our freedom, and only truly succeeded with Muhammad Ali. However, Europe and more modern countries still export heavily into our country.


I live in Cleveland Ohio. I have lived here my whole life and intend on coming back after college. Everything I know and most of the people I know live here and were shaped by the city.
A great majority in Egypt considers themselves muslim. This sets a couple more societal norms that is different from most of the worlds super powers. This also means that I am Muslim which changes how I conduct my life.
This is the logo of the Cleveland Browns. Sports and especially the Browns are a big part of my identity. Most of the people in the USA heavily support a sports team and can be seen as a part of their identity.
Compared to America, there are a lot of different societal norms. The biggest being what can be worn by females.















Jobs in Egypt are a little different than most of the modern world. Mostly being that a majority of workers in Egypt are farmers. This means, odds are, when I grow up I will be a farmer.








Education in Egypt is not as bad as one might think. Thirty percent of Egypt’s population attends college, and that is what I plan on doing. Egypt has one of the best education programs in Africa.

Shaping the society culture and individual identity in Egypt and the USA.

Every individual and society have their unique sense of identity that outstand them from others in many aspects such as beliefs, food, languages, and celebrations. It is important to learn from one another and celebrate our differences, but first, we must have a level of understanding about each other in order to facilitate collaboration and cooperation. Below are examples of elements that have shaped my identity as an Egyptian followed by elements from a different culture, the US-American culture.

The Egyptian revolution of 2011

January 25th, 2011 was one of the most important days in modern Egyptian history, millions of protesters from a wide range of socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian protesters’ grievances focused on legal and political issues, including police brutality, state-of-emergency laws, lack of political freedom, civil liberty, freedom of speech, corruption, high unemployment, food-price inflation, and low wages. Violent clashes between security forces and protesters resulted in at least 846 people killed and over 6,000 injured. Protesters retaliated by burning over 90 police stations across the country. I was so proud and will always be seeing and remembering this day. It showed the Egyptian people pride, strength, and unity.

The Egyptian Media Production City (EMPC)

EMPC is an information and media complex located near Cairo in Egypt. it covers an area of about 35 million square meters. The Company provides and leases television, cinema, and media production tools, and complementary services to others, as well as produces cultural, drama and kids shows., It also offers other activities including media products marketing and distribution, post-production, and pre-production services. The Company operates the International Academy for Engineering & Media Science, which offers specialized technical diplomas and advanced training courses in a range of media fields. As a child, I grew up watching their shows which have shaped my mind significantly. They play an important role in the media development of the country and they have been very influential and successful on both national and regional levels, it is like an Arab Hollywood.

Mashrou’ Leila concert 

On September 22nd, 2017, Photos and video clips of young Egyptian waving rainbow flags during a performance by Mashrou’ Leila, a popular Lebanese band whose lead singer is openly gay, were shared widely on social media. The images provoked a backlash from conservative Egyptian politicians and television hosts, as well as a heated debate on social media that featured virulently homophobic comments. Although homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, the authorities frequently prosecute gay men for homosexuality and women for prostitution under loosely-worded laws that prohibit immorality and “habitual debauchery.” The raising of the rainbow flag was a rare public show of support for the LGBT community in the conservative Muslim country. It was a reminder for the people that queer Egyptians are strong and visible.  Since then discourse around the LGBTQ+ community started to become more common in media forcing itself on society and empowering queer Egyptians.

Ramadan and Eid Season

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. The spiritual rewards of fasting are believed to be multiplied during Ramadan Accordingly, Muslims refrain not only from food and drink, but also tobacco products, sexual relations, and sinful behavior, devoting themselves instead to prayers and recitation of the Quran. Muslims devote more time to prayer and acts of charity, striving to improve their self-discipline. In Egypt, lights are strung up in public squares and across city streets, a tradition believed to have originated during the Fatimid Caliphate, where the rule of Caliph al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah was acclaimed by people holding lanterns. Food changes a lot during this time as many dishes are usually just prepared during Ramadan. People visit each other more often and you could always hear people laughing and talking all day and night like if no one sleeps. After Ramadan comes Eid al-Fitr also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan. Egyptians spend the first day of Eid al-Fitr to gather all family members and celebrate Eid at public gardens. It is customary for children to also receive an Eidi, a small sum of money to be spent on activities throughout the Eid. Egyptians like to celebrate with others, so the streets are always crowded during the days and nights of Eid.

Friday Prayers

In Islam, Friday prayer or Congregational prayer is a prayer that Muslims hold every Friday, afternoon instead of the Zuhr prayer. It is one of the most exalted Islamic rituals and one of its confirmed obligatory acts. As a child this was one of the main religious practices in my life, it was different from the rest of the prayers as the number of attendees is extremely higher than normal prayers and you probably get to see everyone who lives in the neighborhood. Besides being a religious ritual it is also a good bonding time with extended relatives and friends especially during the weekend (Yes Friday is a weekend in Egypt).

Street Food in Egypt

Egyptian streets are full of places where can you get different types of food at a convenient cost. Most commonly is the famous street food trucks that sell Ful medames (refried beans), Ta’ameya (falafel), Arab salad, Fries, etc. They exist in every corner of every street in Egypt and their food is extremely delicious. They play a big role in the Egyptian Economy as they provide an income for many people and breakfast for those heading to school or work every morning. I can confidently say that everyone who lived or visited Egypt has probably eaten there. It is culturally important to me because when I think of a street in Egypt, this the first thing it comes to my mind because it was part of my childhood and how I grew up.

Juice shops

Juice shops are more famous than pyramids in Egypt. Egyptians know at least 3 places where they could buy fresh juices in their city but never have been to the pyramids like me. Egyptian juice shops are especially in the sense that it is fresh, the fruits are juiced right on the spot upon order. Sugar cane juice is probably the most famous and it has a strong historical background. Egypt is blessed with the water of the Nile and the fertile soil which makes it suitable for the agriculture of many corps. Sugar cane is very common in Upper Egypt and can be consumed by chewing the fibers for the juice or juicing it with a machine. It is the main drink and works for all occasions, when you are happy, sad, going out with friends or even on a date because it is sweet and refreshing.

Kids shows in Egypt 

Egyptian culture and history are highly represented in its media productions. Many children’s TV shows represent this heritage such as Bakar, A story about the life of a southern Egypt from Nubia, and his pet, Rashida. And the Story of Sinuhe which showcases the life of an ancient Egyptian called Sinuhe and his two best friends Hapy and Teti-Sherry. All these shows were a big part of my childhood growing up and I absolutely loved them. They present more than just entertainment, they include moral lessons that urge kids to do good, help others and never be dishonest with family and friends. As most of the Egyptian productions, they have the comedy component which made them delightful and loved by both kids and elders.

Sports in Egypt

Football is the main sport in Egypt; Egyptians gather around to watch various Egyptian clubs and the Egyptian national football team plays on an almost daily basis. The Egyptian national football team is also known under the nickname of the Pharaohs. The team has won multiple cups over the years. They won the African Cup of Nations 7 times making them record holders of most African cup wins and most wins in a row (for winning 3 times in a row). Their highest FIFA ranking was in July 2010 where they were ranked 9th in the world, making it their greatest achievement. They were the first from an African country and also, from an Arab country to participate in the World Cup when they played in 1934. El Ahly and El Zamalek are amongst the most popular in the country, both of which are based in Cairo. Both teams compete in the Egyptian Premier League, the highest tier of Egyptian football. Growing up in Egypt you always get asked the question of which team do you belong to, surprisingly your options are only El Ahly or El Zamalek. Around 85% of the people on El Ahly side and 10% support El Zamalek, I am one of the 10%. I had the honor to watch these football games which absolutely entertaining yet can bring you a heart attack in the last couple of minutes of the match.

Night Clubs in Egypt

As a Middle Eastern, predominately Muslim nation, Egypt is not the biggest partying and drinking destination in the world.  However, there are a variety of clubs, discos, casinos, and bars, located within major hotels and in Cairo around Al Zamalek district, the main nightclub area, and many tourist resorts along with the coast of the Red Sea. Alcohol is not illegal and Egypt and people can purchase and drink alcohol at the age of 18. However, any establishment that serves alcohol is required to be indoors, and the windows blocked from the outside. Stella is the most popular local beer in Egypt, and it goes for about 15 – 30 LE ($2.51 – $5.02) per large bottle. Clubs play a variety of music, including Western hip-hop and trance, as well as local Arabic tunes. Belly dancing is very popular in authentic nightclubs that consist of tables for the audience and a big stage where belly dancers and singers perform to entertain the audience.

Egyptian Weddings 


Egyptian weddings are very special ceremonies that have been carried on from generation to generation since the times of the Pharaohs. Weddings usually take place from Wednesday night to Friday noon. The Egyptian wedding main ceremony takes place on Thursday night. It starts with a car parade with wedding decorations of flowers and ribbons. When the bride and groom reach the hotel they are received by a “Zaffa” (procession), another human parade of belly dancers and drummers. As elsewhere in the world couples cut the wedding cake and feed each other. The bride then tosses her flower bouquet behind her back to other hopeful females. The wedding celebration is marked by plenty of food and drinking of a traditional sweet drink called “sharbat” which is prepared from various fruits and herbs. Egyptian weddings are always busy because it is considered rude to decline a wedding invitation and the families compete to invite more guests so during my childhood I went to many weddings.

Abdel-Halim Hafez

Abdel Halim Hafez was an Egyptian singer, actor, and film producer. He is considered to be one of the greatest Egyptian musicians of the 20th centuries along with Umm Kulthum and Mohamed Abdel Wahab. As became more popular, he was given the nickname ‘el-Andaleeb el-Asmar, meaning The Dark-Skinned Nightingale for his sweet voice. During his career, He has sold over 80 million records. He was a live singer performing only on stage in sold-out arenas and stadiums and never had released a studio album. He also played many instruments such as the oboe, drums, piano, oud, clarinet, and guitar. He has performed in almost every country in the Arab World as well as outside the Arab World in Europe. He has many uplifting patriotic songs, not only for Egypt but other Arab countries such as Algeria, Syria, and Lebanon. He was also a mentor who helped many young artists and actors to pursue successful careers.I grew up listening to his music blasting from the radio that my grandfather turns on every night. He became one of my favorite singers when I was around 15 and could understand how magnificent his music is.

George Floyd protests

On May 26th, 2020, Civil unrest and protests began as part of the response to the tragic death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man who was killed during an arrest. Local protests began in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul of Minnesota before quickly spreading nationwide and to over 2,000 cities and towns in over 60 countries in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Polls estimated that between 15 million and 26 million people had participated at some point in the demonstrations in the United States, making the protests the largest in U.S. history. While the majority of protests have been peaceful, demonstrations in some cities escalated into riots, looting, and street skirmishes with police and counter-protesters. Some police responded to protests with instances of police violence, including against reporters. The protests precipitated a cultural reckoning on racial injustice in the United States and have led to numerous legislative proposals on federal, state, and municipal levels intended to combat police misconduct, systemic racism, qualified immunity, and police brutality in the United States. It definitely has changed more inside the people themselves.


It is well known that the dominant style of American cinema is the classical Hollywood cinema, which developed from 1913 to 1969 and characterizes most films made there to this day. Hollywood is considered the oldest film industry where the earliest film studios and production companies emerged and is also the birthplace of various genres of cinema such as musical, horror, science fiction, and the war epic. The major film studios of Hollywood are the primary source of the most commercially successful and most ticket selling movies in the world. Moreover, many of Hollywood’s highest-grossing movies have generated more box-office revenue and ticket sales outside the United States than films made elsewhere. Hollywood is considered to be one of the most influential institutions in the world nowadays giving it the power in shaping the culture and identity of individuals around the world.

1969 Stonewall Riots 

The Stonewall Riots also called the Stonewall Uprising, began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in New York City. The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on the streets. The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world. Though the Stonewall uprising didn’t start the gay rights movement, it was a galvanizing force for LGBT political activism, leading to numerous gay rights organizations nationwide.

The Christmas Season

The Christmas season also called the holiday season is an annually recurring period recognized in many Western and other countries. It is defined as incorporating at least Christmas, New Year, and sometimes various other holidays and festivals. It also is associated with a period of shopping which comprises a peak season for the retail sector (the “Christmas (or holiday) shopping season”) and a period of sales at the end of the season (the “January sales”). Christmas window displays and Christmas tree lighting ceremonies when trees decorated with ornaments and light bulbs are illuminated are traditions in many areas. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving; completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreath; Christmas music and caroling; viewing a Nativity play; an exchange of Christmas cards; church services; a special meal; and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and nativity scenes.

Sunday church service

It is a formalized period of Christian communal worship, often held in a church building. It often but not exclusively occurs on Sunday. The church service is the gathering together of Christians to be taught the “Word of God” (the Christian Bible) and encouraged in their faith. Some churches offer Sunday school classes These will often be for younger children, and may take place during the whole of the service (while the adults are in church). Following the service, there will often be an opportunity for fellowship in the church hall or other convenient place. This provides the members of the congregation a chance to socialize with each other and to greet visitors or new members.

Street food in the USA

For someone who grew up in the united states, street food trucks can be very limited or don’t exist in small cities but in big cities such as New York City and Los Angeles, it is very common. The food served can be very different from that of Egypt. In the United States, they serve mostly junk food such as hotdogs, burgers, fries, etc. However, the food served can differ from a region to another based on the demographics of the population. It represents the rich heritage of the rich as such most food trucks in New Mexico specialize in Hispanic food such as tacos and arepas.


Starbucks Corporation is an American multinational chain of coffeehouses. It is the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, Starbucks is seen to be the main representation of the United States’ second wave of coffee culture. Starbucks locations serve hot and cold drinks, various coffee and tea products, fresh juices, pastries, and snacks. Starbucks stores became the nation’s second living room, meeting place, and study hall. It’s not a stretch to say that Starbucks has altered American culture.

Kids shows in the USA

US-American animations are very popular and widespread around the world. It is a huge part of the media culture and gives the world hundreds of shows every year. Many cartoon shows that are supposed to be for kids are more like fantasy, they represent animals talking, superheroes, and aliens which is different from the reality given by the Egyptian kids’ shows. However, it still gives its part of conveying moral lessons and entertainment for kids. Most famously Tom & Jerry and Looney Tunes, which aren’t only what American kids grew up watching but also many Egyptians. 

Sports in the USA

American football is commonly played in the United States and Canada. It has evolved in the United States, emerging from the sports of soccer and rugby. It has many forms and levels, professional and college football are the most popular forms of the game, with other major levels such as high school and youth football. As of 2012, nearly 1.1 million high school athletes and 70,000 college athletes play the sport in the United States annually. The National Football League, the most popular American football league, has the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world. Its championship game, the Super Bowl, ranks among the most-watched club sporting events in the world. American football also plays a significant role in American culture. The day on which the Super Bowl is held is considered a de facto national holiday, and in parts of the country like Texas, the sport has been compared to a religion.

Night clubs in the USA

Nightclubs are very common in western countries and function as an entertainment venue and bar that usually operates late into the night. A nightclub is generally distinguished by the inclusion of a stage for live music, one or more dance floor areas, and a DJ booth, where a DJ plays recorded music. Some nightclubs include VIP areas for celebrities and important guests. The busiest nights for a nightclub are Friday and Saturday night. Most clubs cater to certain music genres, such as house music or hip hop.

US American weddings

US- American wedding traditions have been around for many years. They are usually seen as the norms of contemporary weddings inside and outside the states. They include many fun traditions that have been passed down through generations. Generally, the traditions of American weddings symbolize the promises of dreams coming true for the couple. Wedding traditions include tossing the flower bouquet and the bride’s garter for singles to catch them and be the next lucky to marry. Many traditions include cutting the cake and dancing the first dance on the floor.

Frank Sinatra 

Francis Sinatra was an American singer, actor, and producer. He was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century as well as one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He had sold more than 150 million records worldwide. Frank Sinatra had refined singing as a means of personal expression single-handedly. He was an instinctive musical genius and a consummate entertainer. Through his life and his art, he transcended the status of a mere icon to become one of the most recognizable symbols of American culture.

My American Identity vs. An Egyptian Identity

My American National Identity


This is a picture of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond. I believe that the church represents the faith that has shaped America during its’ 244-year-long history. Almost all of the founding fathers had a Christian faith of some type and Christianity has remained the dominant religion in the US since then. Although the percentage of Americans that are Christian has declined throughout the late twentieth century, Christianity’s tenets of love and grace still impact America.


In America, all children are educated. Many of them attend American public schools. This promise of free, governmental education has attracted many immigrants to come to America where they know that their children have at least some chance to get ahead by doing well in school.

US Constitution

The US Constitution is the governing document for the United States. It has proved revolutionary in changing the world through its ideals of freedom, democracy, and small government. Before the foundation of the United States, there were few democratic societies in the world. Through America’s outreach, most countries today have a democratic system of government. In addition to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights guarantees a large number of privileges to the American people.

Freedom of Speech

One of the most important freedoms in the Bill of Rights is the freedom of speech. This allows for criticism of the government and powerful people. Without the right to criticize those in power, a country will not have a very equitable and accountable society.

White House

The White House is the residence of the president of the United States and is instantly recognizable across the United States as a symbol for the president. In the US and worldwide, the president is seen as the representative for American policy and affairs.

The Army

The US Army is an important emblem for America, especially in foreign enemy countries. The army has been around since the earliest days of America but became a permanent, longstanding force in the early twentieth century. America’s army greatly contributed to the victories of the Allies in the two world wars and even today America’s army is mostly seen as a force for good.

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a monument in New York Harbor that welcomed millions of immigrants into America when they came here during the first half of the twentieth century on trans-Atlantic ocean liners. Most immigrants from overseas now arrive by plane, but the Statue of Liberty still stands as a symbol of the American immigrant culture.

Grand Canyon

The National Park System in the United States is one of the great features of America as it showcases the natural wonders and historical sites of the country. One of these parks is Grand Canyon National Park, established in 1919. The Grand Canyon is not the deepest, widest, or even longest canyon, but is one of the few canyons that has all three of these qualities in abundance. The National Parks of America represent America as it was before humans arrived and remind us that some places must be kept from development.

Monument Avenue

Monument Avenue in Richmond is not indicative of my identity as an American, but my identity as a Virginian. I have lived in Virginia for most of my life and am proud of its longstanding history and natural beauty. Although Virginia has been tainted by the impacts of slavery, I think that Virginia has generally made a good footprint on the United States. Virginia was the first English settled colony and contributed a great number of leaders to the fight for independence and the foundation of the country. Monument Avenue, prior to 2020, housed six statues: three of Confederate generals, one of a Confederate admiral, one of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and one of Richmond native and international tennis star, Arthur Ashe. The five statues of Confederate men, although flawed by their involvement with the wrong side of the Civil War, represent the heritage of many native Virginians.

The Plantation

The plantation is another point of Virginian identity. Again, it is tainted by slavery, but I think that it should still be remembered as a crucial place in Virginia history as most of the leaders of the state in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries were born and raised on plantations. Furthermore, many Black Virginians have ancestors who worked and lived on these plantations as well. As a relative newcomer to Virginia, I respect its past but recognize the need to put some clarification in the history books.

A Diverse Melting Pot

People of countless races, ethnicities, and cultures live in America. I believe this is one of the strengths of the US as when someone has exposure to multiple viewpoints, they can often make better decisions. Historically, people from across the world came to America to become part of something larger than themselves. This idea is exemplified in the national motto, E Pluribus Unum, which means “Out of many, One.”

The American Dream

One of the key reasons people come to the United States in the hundreds of thousands each year is the hope of achieving the American Dream. The American Dream is the idea that anyone can come to America and have a good life by working hard. I feel this personally as my parents are both first generation immigrants to the US from Canada. Although Canada is very similar to the US, they have less freedom and more taxes and big government. In America, someone can come and work hard and keep most of the money that they make. They can start a family and maybe start a business. Anyways, the freedom to do almost anything you set your mind to and work hard at can be found in America.

An Egyptian National Identity


The Mosque is crucial to understanding Egypt as the country is around 90% Muslim and has been ruled by Muslim leaders since the seventh century. Islam influences Egypt in beneficial ways as one of the key tenets of the faith is to give alms to the poor and, in addition, Muslim banks do not charge interest and thus make it easier to get out of debt.

Nile River

The Nile River flows through the middle of Egypt and it is safe to say that without the Nile Egypt would not be a country or at least as historically significant as it was and is. The Nile is responsible for nearly every facet of Egyptian life, from water to food to items manufactured from river plants to transportation. Apart from the Nile, Egypt is largely a desert country, so the river is very important.

The Pyramids

The Pyramids of Giza are simply amazing. They are probably the greatest tourist lure in Egypt and were part of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Notably, they are the only site of the Seven Wonders that remain in a condition that somewhat resembles their original state. Built to house the pharaohs of Egypt’s earliest dynasties, the pyramids have stood for around 4500 years and are a symbol of Egypt as a whole.

The Pharaohs

Ancient Egypt was ruled by pharaohs for thousands of years. These kings left their imprint on the landscape of the modern-day country in their temples, palaces, and tombs scattered all over Egypt. During the time of the pharaohs, Egypt was fiercely independent and was also a great power that ruled over nearby lands as well.


Cairo is the capital of Egypt and has been for one thousand years. Located on the Nile River in Lower Egypt, Cairo was established by the Fatimid dynasty. In the modern day, the city is the largest in Africa and the Middle East. It is called the “city of a thousand minarets” and is the home to over forty mosques. Cairo is not just the political but also the cultural and religious capital of Egypt.

Arabic language

Virtually every Egyptian speaks Arabic. The language was brought to Egypt by the Muslims when they conquered the country in the seventh century and spread through the land. Nowadays, the Ancient Egyptian language is kept alive solely in the Christian Coptic faith’s religious ceremonies.


Saladin was the founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty that ruled Egypt in the twelfth and thirteen centuries. He is seen by many in the Middle East as the quintessential Muslim that fought against the Christians in the Crusades and almost completely annihilated the Christian state in Palestine. Saladin was responsible for many building projects in Egypt and most famously built the citadel of Cairo.

Flag of Egypt

This is the national flag of Egypt. It was adopted in 1984, although Egypt has had some variant of the red, white, and black tricolor since the foundation of the republic in 1953. The flag features the eagle of Saladin, which is also the national emblem of Egypt, in the middle. The colors of the flag also hold meaning: red stands for the Egyptians’ blood in the fight against their oppressors, white stands for the purity an Egyptian’s heart, and black stands for the defeat of darkness.


The Government of Egypt is relatively young compared to the older governments of Egypt which sometimes lasted for hundreds of years. The Republic of Egypt was founded after the revolution in 1952 against the king of Egypt. It consists of two primary branches: the presidency and the legislature. The president has more power than the legislature so that can sometimes be an issue, especially when a dictator rises to power.


School in Egypt is free, except the education system does not have the resources to ensure a quality education for everyone. However, Egypt’s religious universities are world-renowned. Al-Azhar University, in particular, is widely regarded as the best university for Sunni Islamic teaching.


Egyptian music is very influential in the larger Middle East region, just like the country as a whole. Initially, music was patronized by the khedives (rulers of Egypt during the late nineteenth century). This was the beginning of contemporary Egyptian music, as most artists in the twentieth century looked to those in the nineteenth for help and inspiration. Currently, Egypt hosts a thriving music scene of the contemporary, techno, folk, and classical genres.

Diversity of Cultures: Muslim, Christian, and Jewish

In Egypt, the main culture is Muslim but there are two additional minority cultures: Christian and Jewish. Under the current government, all groups are treated fairly and equally. Historically, this was not always the case. Under the early Muslim rulers, Christians and Jews had to pay supplementary taxes because they were not Muslim. However, this practice does not exist in Egypt anymore. Today, Egypt is as a united country where almost everybody speaks the same language and practices the same religion.

Egyptian Identity vs Personal/American Identity


Nile river

The Nile river is famously known as the longest river in the world, however in Egypt it is known for having fertile soil to grow crops such as wheat, flax, and papyrus. The Nile was vital to Ancient Egyptians because it provides water, food, and transportation in addition to the fertile soil which lines its banks. Secondly, the Nile was extremely important strategically due to the rough cataracts that it has making it difficult to navigate. Today much of the population in Egypt still lives around the Nile river valley.


Suez Canal

The Suez Canal was constructed from 1859 to 1869 offering a direct trade route between the Atlantic and Indian oceans through the mediterranean sea separating Africa from Asia. It was constructed during the rule of Sa’id Pasha by Ferdinand de Lesseps. The canal completely changed trade and transportation on the silk road route, now becoming one of the most used shipping lanes in the world. Prior to the construction of the Suez Canal the only significant settlement in the Sinai Peninsula was Suez which only had around 4,000 residents; however, after the addition of the canal the land was greatly developed to now contain some of the most populous cities in Egypt.



Religion plays a large role in many world societies today and Egypt is no different. However Egypt has a much deeper rooted past when it comes to the idea of the religion. Today about 90% of the country is part of the Sunni branch of Islam with an extremly small minority of Sunni muslims and Coptic Christians. The domination of the religion came as a result of the Muslim conquest of Roman Eygpt which was led by Amr ibn al-Aas making Islam the dominant faith in Egypt starting in the 10th century. The religion of Islam in Egypt has led to 4 seperate school of law being set up in Al-Azhar which are now regarded around the world today as the ultimate laws and rulings of Sunni Islam.



Egyptian cuisine is similar to the food of the Eastern Mediterranean such as rice-stuffed vegetables, grape leaves, shawarma, kebab, and kofta. It heavily utilizes various legumes, vegetables, and fruits which can be found in the Nile valley and delta. Much of the food in Egyptian cuisine is vegetarian due to the historically high price of meat as well as the restrictions of the Coptic community, which is interesting because the same is true of Indian cuisine which is extremely vegetarian heavy. For the majority of egyptian cuisine it is based on the region of the country that a person lives in due to the food which grows around them.



Hieroglyphs were one of the ways of writing which was used by the Ancient Egyptians and are considered to be one of the earliest writing systems within human history. Hieroglyphs play a major role today in giving information of Ancient Egyptian times and giving a glimpse into what life was like during the time of Ancient Egyptians detailing their wars, culture, traditions, and ceremonies. Without the hieroglyphs all of the Egyptian culture may have been lost with the countless occupations of other nations and people in Egypt.

Egyptian art

Art from Ancient Egypt plays a vital role in upholding the culture within Egypt depicting the ancient deities of Egypt. Art in Ancient Egypt almost always served some sort of purpose for example art that is in the tombs of pharaohs is known to help provide a guide for the soul of the deceased in the afterlife in order to reach the field of reeds in the afterlife. The art also shows the concept of the hierarchies of scale which are present in many depictions of Ramses II as he is portrayed as a giant among men demonstrating his stature within society.



Today in Egypt Arabic is spoken as it is over the rest of the Islamic world, however Arabic was not the spoken language in Egypt until around the 10th century. At first simply Egyptian was spoken which later became Coptic– which is still used in the coptic church today. After this there was a great deal of Greece influence and then Roman influence which ultimately led to the mulsim invasion of Egypt which finally instituted arabic as the language which remains today. 



Cleoparta VII was a highly important figure from ancient Egypt known throughout the world today as one of the most powerful women during her time. During her time Cleopatra was painted as a femme fatal by the Roman Empire and the rest of the western world who tried to discount her intellegence and strategically skills by advertising that she was nothing more than a pretty queen who seduced other rulers to get her way. Today she still serves as one of the archetypes for what a femme fatal is in literature. 


The Book of the Dead

The Book of the Dead allows for the understanding of Ancient Eegyptian burial traditions and beliefs of the afterlife. The book depicts the perilous journey which souls of the deceased face as they travel through the underworld in an attempt to reach paradise and live a continuation of their life on earth within the presence of the gods. The book at first was only available to the pharaohs but slowly it became commercialized for everyone. One of the most interesting facts related to the book is the ancient Egyptians believed that one’s stature within society was not important to their journey through the afterlife and instead only if a person was a scribe were they guaranteed safe passage to the field of reeds.



Egypt is home to some of the most impressive and breathtaking pieces of architecture in the world. The most famous are the Egyptian pyramids of Giza which were built over hundreds of years. The pyramids are a constant reminder of the rich history of the country. However, the pyramids are not the only impressive pieces of architecture there are also hundreds of temples, palaces, tombs, and fortresses which each have their own distinct style and forms of art which accompany them. 



Cairo was founded in 969 CE by the Fatimid Caliphate in their attempt to overthrow the Abbasid caliphate and replace it with their own. Cairo was formerly known as Al-Fustat which was an important center in earlier times. It is famous for being home to the Giza pyramids and being the center of both the political and cultural life within the region. Cairo is also home to Al-Azhar which is the second-oldest institution of higher learning within the Arab world. Today Cairo continues to play an important role as the capital of Egypt as well as the largest city in the Arab world.



The geography of Egypt is why it was a highly sought after area. This is because within Egypt there are many natural barriers which made it difficult to invade. While the Nile allows for fertile soil it also provides its own barriers of a series of cataracts which are extremely dangerous to try to get through. In addition, the majority of Egypt is the arid and barren desert in which almost no one except the nomadic people live. These two reasons alone make Egypt extremely valuable in terms of positioning a military. 


America and India

Indian Culture

Growing up I have always had an extremely heavy Indian influence culturally. I grew up speaking Telugu at home which is a language spoken in Andhra Pradesh which is where my mom is from in India. I have been raised with all of the Indian traditions such as a saree ceremony, which is similar to a quinceanera. I also spent many summers in India while I was growing up which allowed me to understand the culture even better. I also grew up dancing bollywood and bharatanatyam, which is a form of Indian classical dance, as well as learning carnatic singing which is a specific type of singing in India. All of these experiences allowed me to have a very different outlook than some of my friends which I think is really interesting.



I have been exposed to many different languages growing up whether it is in school or at home. In India while the national language is Hindi more people use English to communicate with others from other states since there are thousands of different dialects within the country that are spoken so going to a different state or even city is like going to another country with its own distinct language, culture, and traditions. English is also used in official parliamentary proceedings. I think speaking multiple languages is extremely important especially in today’s society as it is evolving and changing.


Indian Food plays a huge role in the culture. My family is from southern India and because of that the food we tend to eat is much spicier than the food from the north. The diet is predominantly vegetarian with a little bit of meat primarily because of the caste system which was first set up in India in which only the Brahmins, the highest level of the caste system, could eat meat meaning the majority of the population was vegetarian. Indian food is also very rich in lentils and vegetables based off of where you live. Everyday there are people who come to the house with fresh vegetables, fish, shrimp, and milk that is all from that morning so the diet is very reliant on where you live.



I was raised Hindu and have attended sunday school class for as long as I can remember. My family in India as well as within the United States is extremely involved with religion so much so my paternal grandfather helped to build the temple in Chicago and my maternal grandmother goes on religious retreats every couple months. Hinduism will always be part of my core.


Dancing and Music

Dance is a way for people of all cultures to express themselves through their own styles of dance. Growing up I danced jazz, tap, ballet, bollywood, and bharatnatyam. It allowed me to experience different cultures throughout the music as well as form a sort of bridge between the two sides of me. From dancing is also where my love of music grew from specifically my love of jazz. A person can learn so much about another culture by simply listening to their music since it truly is a universal language.


American Culture

Within the United States there are various subcultures that make up the American culture based off of the region a person lives in. I was raised in both Georgia and Indiana so I had an interesting mix of culture. I have lived in the United States my entire life so the culture is not necessarily something that I think about often because it is simply something that I live. That being said, the culture in the United States allows for people to be much more open minded and it is also much easier for women to be outspoken and strong in comparison to some other countries.


Melting Pot

The United States is known as the melting pot of the world since it is home to hundreds of differing cultures, traditions, religions, and experiences. Everyone in the United States had to have immigrated at some point in their family history which is what contributes to the diverse community and rich culture that we now have. I am extremely appreciative of this because growing up in a place where everyone’s the same would be boring.



Personally as well as on a higher level family is extremely important. This is demonstrated by most holidays within the United States in which families get together to spend time with each other and be thankful for each other. My family will use any excuse to get together so it is not uncommon for me to come home and find 20 other family members randomly in my house. Family is something that I am extremely grateful for because your family helps to shape you to be who you are as a person.



Within the United States Christianity is the dominant religion although there are various different sects within the United States. I went to a christian school growing up and had religion class everyday for almost 12 years so Christianity has also played a large role in my life as well as shaped the country in its views culturally and politically.



9/11 was a defining day for the United States because it completely shifted how people were perceived within the United States. The fall of the twin towers was devastating as the country believed that it was almost invincible in a sense. 9/11 brought swarms of negativity to people based on the color of their skin and their outward appearance. These are effects that are still seen today. As well as fears that are always in the back of my mind because of where I live.



Within the United States sports greatly contributes to the culture. This occurs not only on a national but also an international level. Sports are a way for a country to prove that it is dominant in all aspects of life including being the most fit. Sports such as baseball, basketball, and football are among the most popular in the United States so much so that Sunday is known as the day to go to church and watch football. 


The Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement was one of the most pivotal events in American history which took place during the 1950s and 1960s in order for people of color to gain equal rights under the law as white americans. While the movement did not end racial injustice it allowed for equality under the law. Without the Civil rights movement there would still be racial segregation within the United States simply based off a factor that one cannot control anymore than the color of their eyes they are born with or whether they are left or right handed.


My American and Egyptian Identity


Maria Gorman

Important Monuments:

The Statue of Liberty

One thing that has impacted me is the Statue of Liberty and what it stands for. My grandparents immigrated from Greece when my mom was six.  They came to America in hope of a better life. The Statue of Liberty means a lot for my mom and also for me as it represents the longing for freedom and a better opportunity for many people in America. The Statue of Liberty also reminds me that America is a melting pot. I have learned so much about life by hearing about the experiences of so many different people.

The Great Pyramids of Giza

The Great Pyramids of Giza reflect the prosperous times in Egyptian History. The pyramids also reflect the power of the Pharaohs. The Great Pyramids are one of the Seven Wonders of the World left which reflects Egypt’s ancient history. Many people associate the Great Pyramids with Egypt. These pyramids are a constant reminder of Egypt’s rich ancient and ever-present history. The pyramids would remind me of the common ground that I share with all people from Egypt. They would help me relate to all other Egyptians, knowing the prominent history and accomplishments of Egypt that have shaped the world.


The Greek Orthodox Church

Growing up in America, I attended a Greek Orthodox church. I have grown up as a Christian due to my parents raising me in the faith. In America, Christianity is the most practiced faith with 65% of the population practicing Christianity. Therefore, I have never felt any oppression or ostracism due to my beliefs. My faith has shaped my life and the way that I view life and death and the afterlife. It determines my moral values and how I make decisions.

The Coptic Christian Church

Growing up in Egypt I could have been a Coptic Christian. In Egypt, the main religion is Islam (90% of the population) so therefore I would be a part of the minority religion. I would probably feel less confident in speaking about my religion. Growing up there would mean that I would have a different perspective by being a member of a minority religion. The icons that surround me in the church would appear more rudimentary and less human-like. I would have to fast for both Easter and Christmas while only eating a vegan-like diet which seems very difficult. Overall, being a Coptic Christian in Egypt seems harder than being a Christian in America.



I grew up speaking English as my primary language. I also knew a few Greek words and phrases from my mom, yet I was never fluent. I took Spanish as a second language which I was conversational but not fluent in. Speaking English has made it easy to communicate and travel as people from other countries tend to speak English. I wish I could speak fluently in another language as people from other countries are fluent in their native language and at least another language, typically English.

Egyptian Arabic

When there was a Muslim conquest of Egypt in the seventh century, Egypt adopted Arabic as it’s primary language. Today Egyptians speak Egyptian Arabic, which slightly differs from other forms of Arabic. Growing up in Egypt, I would have been speaking Egyptian Arabic. I would have learned other languages as many younger people in Egypt know multiple European languages and English. I may have been more intelligent if I had grown up in Egypt as learning multiple languages is very good for the brain.


School in America

In America, the education system has greatly impacted my life. I grew up going to Catholic schools from kindergarten through 12th grade which has influenced my life in terms of education and religion. I also learned to socialize and deal with various challenges throughout my education experience. The United States media places a great emphasis on high school and the expectations of high school students. This representation has influenced my perceptions of high school which made attending high school very underwhelming.

School in Egypt

The education system in Egypt differs greatly from America’s education system. First of all, females in Egypt are usually behind males in terms of education. However, there has been an Egypt Eduction Reform Project which has pushed for equal opportunities for education for both genders in Egypt. The way that the education system is broken up is also different in Egypt. Their system is broken up into elementary school (grades 1-6), secondary school(7-9), and senior secondary school(10-12). This would have altered my educational and developmental periods in my life as a child and adolescent.


Food in America

The cuisine in America tends to involve highly fatty, fried, and carb-loaded food. The taste of this food is very delicious, yet not the best for one’s health. Food has impacted my life in America because I have memories of backyard barbeques with family and friends. These moments have brought me closer to those whom I love and remind me of happy summer nights. The upside to food in America is that one can find a lot of different ethnic food varieties from Asian to Italian. 

Food in Egypt

The food in Egypt has lots of spices and has many similarities to Mediterranean food. There are a lot of dishes with legumes and vegetables such as Koshary, which is a mixture of rice, macaroni, and lentils. The food in Egypt seems to be healthier compared to American cuisine as it contains less meat and more vegetables. If I grew up in Egypt, the food would influence how I would pair spices and prepare food. The food would also bring up different kinds of memories with friends and families, revolving around Egyptian traditions. I am sure that I would Love Egyptian food knowing that I love Mediterranean food.

Major Cities:


A major influence in my life has been the city of Boston, Massachusetts. I grew up about 25 minutes from Boston and my family and I have paid a lot of visits there over the years. This city is rich in American history and I learned a lot from walking the Freedom Trail and seeing all the monuments and historic buildings. Visiting Boston has piqued my interest in American History. I have often reflected upon these events and their meanings for our country In the city.  Also, incidental to visiting the historic sites in Boston, I saw a lot of people expressing themselves through music and art and it inspired the artistic side of me.


Alexandria would have played a similar role in my life as Boston. Alexandria is a port city on the Mediterranean Sea and has a lot of historical significance for Egypt. I would have learned a lot about the Hellenic culture and Christian history from visiting Alexandria. I would have also learned a lot about Alexander the Great and his conquest of Egypt.  Alexandria was a Center of Trade in an important port for Naval operations. Through the various museums in Alexandria, I would have learned a lot about the arts and architecture of the time. Alexandria would have made me grow intellectually and personally if I lived in Egypt.


Dancing in America

Dance played an integral role in my life. I started learning ballet when I was 5 years old and participated in lyrical ballet when I was older. One popular form of dance in America is square dancing. When I was younger, every father-daughter dance was a square dance. The memories that I have associated with this type of dance will always have a sentimental meaning to me. Even now, when I no longer take dance classes, I still love to dance with my friends. Dancing for me has now become a form of self-expression. 

Dancing in Egypt

A popular form of dance is belly dancing. One of the most popular types of belly dancing in Egypt is the Beledi dance. People perform in this type of dance during celebrations and weddings. However, a lot of the time belly dancing can be seen as promiscuous in Egypt. Therefore, I would not belly dance in Egypt, or at least I would not take classes for it like Americans have dance classes for ballet.


Music in America

Music has played a major role in my life. My dad would always play classic American rock and many of the lyrics and the melodies still resonate with me today. The music that I grew up with has shaped how I think about the world. The Doors, the Talking Heads, Nirvana, and Red Hot Chili Peppers are still some of my favorite American Bands to this day. This music has been with me through my times of angst and as well as my times of joy and celebration. I have grown fond of listening to many new kinds of music thanks to my brother and my dad. American music has brought so many fond memories from my childhood. I remember gathering around the campfire singing Ring of Fire with my brothers. I also remember singing American Pie with my family as we drove along the Massachusetts coast. 

Music in Egypt

Egyptian music has far more of a history than American music. Ancient Egyptian music started around the Neolithic Period which involved chanting for religious rituals. The music that I would have grown up with if I lived in Egypt would probably have been popular. My favorite artists would be Amr Diab and Tamer Hosny as they have smooth voices and fun songs. Egyptian popular music today seems like dancing music. The songs do not seem to be songs that one would listen to and have an emotional response. However, some ballad-like sad songs still have Middle Eastern instruments that seem to be prevalent in Egyptian music. The instruments include the kamman, durbakk, o’ood, qanoon, and naay. The sound of this music has a lot of string instruments which sound very similar to the ancient Egyptian music that I have heard. This shows that modern Egyptians still have strong similarities to ancient Egyptian music.  It also reveals the role that Egypt had in Arabic and Middle Eastern music in general as many of the instruments and composition reflects ancient Egyptian music. 


Superstitions in America

In America, I have grown up believing in multiple superstitions. Whenever I say anything that could bring bad luck, I always knock on wood. Even if I am not near Wood I will go out of my way to knock on it to make sure nothing bad happens. Another common Superstition that I believe in is the fear of walking under a ladder. Whenever I need to use a ladder I make sure that I never walk under it because I do not want to get bad luck. These superstitions have shown me that I tend to worry about things a lot. Superstitions helped me to reflect on my own personality.

Superstitions in Egypt

In Egypt, a common superstition is a belief in the evil eye. The evil eye is described in the Quran and it has to do with the jealousy or evil eye of another person bringing bad luck. For example, an Egyptian might believe that if someone complimented their car, then their car might break down after the envy of the other person. To undo the bad luck, the Egyptians believed that one has to touch wood to protect against envy. I would have most likely have believed in that superstition and would have similarly touched wood to avoid the bad luck from the evil eye. I may have even worn jewelry to prevent bad luck.

Femme Fatale Tropes:

The Femme Fatale in America

In America, the femme fatale stereotype was portrayed mainly in movies after World War II. These American films depicted the fears of the soldiers coming back from war to find that their wives have been unfaithful. The women had newfound independence from working outside the home. A real-life example of an American femme fatale would be Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn Monroe was known to have had many partners in her life and most famously rumored to have had an affair with John F. Kennedy. I have always been intrigued by Marilyn Monroe and her mysterious life because she was such an iconic American figure. 

The Femme Fatale in Egypt

Cleopatra gained a reputation from the media as being a femme fatale. Although she had great power as a woman, the media represents her as a seductress who used her appeal to gain political power. Cleopatra was shown to have seduced both Marc Anthony and Julius Caesar, two of the most powerful and influential people in the Roman Empire at that time. The reputation of Cleopatra is still known to this day. If I had grown up in Egypt, I definitely would have heard of Cleopatra and her reputation.


Sports in America

American Football is the most popular sport in America. Tailgates are major social events revolving around football. The sport is the center of a lot of discussion in America and it brings a lot of people together. I have never played football, yet my family is very into watching football. I never really liked watching football too much, yet I do enjoy the camaraderie surrounding football parties and tailgates.

Sports in Egypt

In Egypt, the major sport is football or soccer to Americans. The main teams, El Zamalek and Al Ahly are based in Cairo. Although many people watch national football, they also watch club football as well. I think that I would enjoy the social aspects surrounding football in Egypt and might enjoy it more than American football since people are not being tackled.


The Charles River

The Charles River is prominent in Massachusetts. The Charles River runs between Cambridge and Boston. The Native Americans originally knew about the river and called it Quinobequin, or “meandering”. When Captain John Smith explored Massachusetts and its features, he named the Charles River after King Charles I. The Charles River became a source of hydropower for industrialization in Massachusetts. I have a great connection to the Charles River because I remember going on Duck Boats with my family and close friends after a visit to the Museum of Science. These tours impacted how I saw Boston and the influence of the Charles River. Another connection that I have to this River was when my mom and I would walk along the Charles River to watch the sunset. These memories shaped who I am today and brought me closer to those I love.

The Nile River

The Nile River was essential for civilization to start in Egypt. It is one of the longest rivers in the world and runs through eleven countries. The fertile soil allowed ancient Egyptians to easily farm and to start a habitable civilization. The fertile soil and constant flooding allowed for the cultivation of food for the Egyptians. Most people live close to the Nile River, even to this day. Living in Egypt, I would have acknowledged the important history and source of life that the Nile provided Egypt. I would have great respect for the Nile and would observe its beauty as well.

American identity vs. Egypt

A Baptist church is depicted above. Christianity is the major religion in the United States. About 65% of Americans identify as Christian. Since my grandfather is a preacher at a baptist church, Christianity has played a major role in both my family and I’s life. I was practically raised in the church. Therefore Christianity has a great influence on my religious identity.


The American civil war is depicted above. It occurred from 1861-185. This war was fought over the enslavement of  African American people. The civil war plays an important role in my identity as an African American because it led to the freedom of my people.
The picture above depicts me performing the Waltz of the Flowers in The Nutcracker. Ballet didn’t come to the United States until the 19th century. I’ve been learning the art of ballet for about 10 years. It allows for a creative outlet. The discipline, beauty, and poise I have gained from this training has influenced the way in which I view the world. I view it from the perspective of an artist.
A blue jay is depicted above. They are most often spotted in the city I live in, Baltimore. I have an appreciation for nature because I am constantly around it. I live in. a woodsy area in which I often see deer, bunnies, foxes, birds, etc. This has influenced my choice in my major, environmental studies.
A plate of typical southern food is depicted above. Southern food plays a large part in my identity of being an African American. Like many black families, the majority of my family is from the south specifically North Carolina. This is mainly due to the popularity and concentration of slavery in the south. This is the food I grew up on and am most familiar with.
My intermediate household is depicted above. The support and unconditional love my family provides really has shaped me into the person I am today. They provide a support system that has developed my personal identity.
The Chesapeake bay is depicted above. The bay plays an influential role in the diet of Marylanders. In the past, it was important for trade and transportation. We depend on this body of water for seafood. Crabs among other seafood are the staple of my state.
The 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, is depicted above. He was the first black president of America in 2008. To see someone like me in a position of great power has definitely made me feel proud to be black and influenced my interpretation of what it means to be black in America.
The declaration of independence is depicted above. The declaration of independence was created in 1776. This symbolizes when America truly became free from its British oppressors and makes me proud to be an American. In addition, it represents the main values Americans are meant to uphold.
The Civil Rights movement is depicted above. The civil rights movent lasted from 1954 to 1968. This movement ultimately leads to African Americans getting their rights and without this, I would not have the same rights as white Americans. The horrors my people had to endure in addition to the lack of rights makes me proud to be African American.
American football is depicted above. Football was created in 1869. It is one of the more popular sports in America. Games are played once a week and there are several pre-rituals that Americans participate in. Football also happens to be a major sport in my family and we watch it every Sunday.


The Nile river is depicted above. It is the main water source that gives life to crops and animals. Egypt relies on this for water, travel, trade, etc. Life is centered around the Nile and Egyptian religion once incorporated it because they realized the importance it had to everyday life.
The Egyptian national park, Wadi el Gemal, is depicted above. Since the beginning of Egyptian history, nature has played a role in pre-historic religion. Egyptians built their religion based on the behavior of the sun, water, and seasons. The national park above is a vast park with wildlife, birds, and coral. The picture depicts how beautiful Egypt is. It also symbolizes the importance of wildlife in Egypt considering that this land has been conserved.
Egyptian food is depicted above. A typical Egyptian diet consists of legumes, vegetables, and fruit. Diet plays a major role in Egyptian culture. It shares many similarities with the Mediterranean diet. Vegetables are especially emphasized because the Nile provided and still provides a plethora of vegetables. Religion, location, and resources all influence this diet. 
The Suez canal is depicted above. The construction of the Suez Canal began in 1859 and was finished in 1869. completely altered trade and transportation as a whole. It is the shortest route between Europe and the surrounding areas of India and the western Pacific oceans. It serves as a testament to the splendor and advancement of Egypt.
The Egyptian flag is depicted above. This flag was adopted in 1984. The three equal red, white and black stripes derived from the Egyptian revolution in 1952. The red stripe symbolizes the Egyptian blood spilled in the war against colonization. The white stripe symbolizes the purity of the Egyptian’s heart. The black band stripe symbolizes that darkness is overcome. The golden eagle represents the Egyptian eagle of Saladin.
A page from the Book of the Dead is depicted above. The book of the dead played a major societal and religious role in ancient Egypt. The afterlife was of major importance to Egyptians so they would buy their own personal book of the dead that had spells that could guide a person’s soul to the afterlife.
Hieroglyphs are depicted above. Hieroglyphs were used as the official writing system of ancient Egypt. It was crucial for written communication. There are about 1,000 symbols and it stopped being used in AD 400. The decipherment of hieroglyphics wasn’t possible until around 1820 with the help of the Rosetta Stone. Without Hieroglyphs, the majority of ancient Egyptian culture would be lost because we would not be able to understand it.
Embalming tools are depicted above. These tools represent the care and consideration ancient Egyptians put into caring for the dead. Preparing a body for the afterlife was quite an important ritual in ancient Egyptian religion. Each part of the process has a specific reason behind it i.e removal of organs and persevering the body as a whole. The body needed to be cared for properly to enter the afterlife.
A depiction of Cleopatra is above. Cleopatra is the main staple of ancient Egypt. Due to the glorification of her that comes around the 1950s, many associate her with Egypt immediately. She is known for coming to power and luxury through the marriages of powerful men. Her intelligence is often downplayed. She is often depicted as a beautiful femme fatale regaurdless of the lack of historical accuracy.
A map that depicts Sunni distribution in the Middle East is depicted above. The majority of the population in Egypt are Sunni Muslims. The main disagreement between Sunni and Shia Muslims stems from the argument of who should’ve become the successor of Muhammed. Many conflicts have taken place due to this disagreement. Shia Muslims have historically been oppressed because their population is smaller than their counterparts. Many acts of ethnic cleansing of Shias have taken place. Marrying a person who is on the opposing side of the argument is frowned upon. 
Hatshepsut’s Temple is depicted above. Hatshepsut was one of the first female pharaohs. The large beautiful structure symbolizes the magnificence of ancient Egypt and the dynasties that once ruled. It is a testament to the advancement of religion, technology, and influence.
The god Atum is depicted above. Ancient Egypt’s religion was essentially built around Atum. He is viewed as the god who created everything. He created himself from nothing. He is the reason things happen to exist and therefore was one of the most important deities. Many trinkets, statues, buildings, and hieroglyphs can be found depicting Atum.

Egyptian Identity v. My Identity

Egyptian Identity

  • Nile River
    • The Nile River is a fundamental element of Egyptian culture. It is the center of ancient religion as well as the main source of life for the Egyptians. In ancient times, the Nile River was what determined the lives of the people, if the Gods were mad at the people, the river would show this by flooding or even causing droughts in the land. But even in modern times, the Egyptian people rely on it for water, trade, and transportation. 

  • Hieroglyphics
    • Hieroglyphics are one of the oldest forms of knowledge for Egypt and the world. Egypt has one of the richest known histories because of the early forms of writing that were discovered. Although it is not yet fully deciphered, it has been a great insight into the past of human history and has intrigued many scholars into discovering more about Egypt.

  • Egyptian gods and goddesses
    • The idea that there can be death after death is sort of terrifying. Egyptians believed that they would have to put their heart to trial against a feather. It is interesting how the heart is seen as the center for emotions and where people think. What would happen if the Egyptian gods ate the people’s hearts? Would they just cease to exist, would they go to an underworld? Although the current major religion of Egypt is Islam, I am sure there remain a culture and influence from gods and goddesses such as Anubis and Osiris. It is also important to note how Christianity and Egyptian religion influence one another and how they relate.

  • The ruling of different pharaohs
    • Pharaohs were the first form of government for the Egyptian people. They made the laws and ordered the religion that was acceptable to the people. Also, they were seen as sons of the gods, immortal, and able to speak with them. Modern Egyptian have moved away from this polytheist belief and into Islam. But the history and influence polytheism had on Egyptians influenced the everyday life of the people as well as the interactions they had with their government.

  • Alexander the Great conquers Egypt
    • The Persians began to take over much of Egypt. Alexander the Great’s major goal for Egypt was to set up trade networks in and out of Egypt. He was able to blend much of the Greek and Egyptian culture to make the assimilation between both powers easier. He was the man who set up one of the most powerful and lived in cities in Egypt, Alexandria. Alexandria is still a major city in Egypt today and is a major source of money and trade to this day.

  • Cleo Patra
    • Although many other pharaohs have done so much more for Egypt, there is one that is well known everywhere, Cleo Patra. In the modern-day, Cleo Patra is an iconic character written in hundreds of books and movies all over the world. This has a great influence on the way Egypt is portrayed even in modern times. She is often depicted as a voluptuous, beautiful woman that uses her charm to seduce all men.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte
    • Bonaparte had a great influence on the relationships between countries, the culture of Egypt, and the relationship between the government and people. He encouraged trade with Egypt which would allow the economy to flourish. He was able to bring a French perspective to Egypt regarding fashion and other ways of culture. Also, he brought ideas like “free until proven guilty” to the government at the time. Although he only stayed in Egypt for a few years and did not succeed in conquering the land, he left a mark on the trajectory of the government and how the people felt about foreign nations taking rule over it.

  • The Islamic conquest of Egypt
    • In the early 640 BCE, most Egyptians were Coptic and believed that God was one. Amr ibn al-As was appointed as military commander of the Islamic army to conquer Egypt. Possession of Egypt would strengthen the power of the Muslims. Islam had had a great influence in Egypt as it remains the major religion of the Egyptian people right now.

  • Suez canal
    • Another conflict was between Egypt and Israel regarding the Suez canal. Built-in 1859, the Suez canal allowed easy trade between the Mediterranean and Red sea. It was a great economic source for Egypt and caused great conflict between Israel and Egypt. Later on, Egypt had closed the canal which leads to Israel( with the help of French and British forces) invading it and later leaving due to US pressure.

  • Caliphates
    • The Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah was one of the caliphs that in a way began the crusades. He orders his people to burn and destroy the religious buildings of other religions. Although he didn’t lose any territory under his ruling, there was much unrest and many mobs of the Sunni community. According to sources, he was contributed to education by creating the Dar al-Hikma. It would educate people about the Quran and Hadith. During his reign we see the rise of a new religion, the Druze movement began. Because of his desire to increase the Islamic religion and the movement towards destroying other religious buildings, we see how these actions held a grudge in the beginnings of the crusades.

  • Egypt v. Israel
    • Egypt did not recognize Israel as a state until 1979. Egypt joined forces with the Arabs to take down Israel during the first Arab-Israeli war. In 1953, another conflict was between Egypt and Israel regarding the Suez canal. The war of 1967 resulted from Israel seizing control of the territories of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights among others. In the modern-day, we see that both are in this state of “cold peace,” with tolerance but not acceptance.

  • WW2 in Egypt
    • Egypt entered the cold war during Project FF. King Farok was pressured into accepting progressive reforms, which he opposed at first but had to accept. After a coup to take over Egypt an anticommunist regime was created. Later Egypt was created into a Republic which still stands until now.

My Identity

  • Constitution
    • The United States has greatly been shaped by the constitution. Even to this day, people are following and creating laws based on the constitution. It is a huge marker in our history that signifies the independence of America. People even now celebrate July 4th, to commemorate the date and it is a subject taught in every class in America.

  • Civil War
    • The Civil War has shaped the way people of color interact with one another and how America views itself. It was a major step for America to become more racially united and has greatly influenced the society we live in today. Although there is much more progress that we have to make as a society, it was a step towards racial equality and the progression of the American identity.

  • American Culture
    • My American identity is also very important for me considering I have been raised in the U.S. my whole life. I went to school, learned English, and have most of my friends and family here. As a result, living in America and American culture is a big part of my life and identity.

  • Mexican Culture
    • As a Mexican American woman, Mexican culture is one of the biggest and most important aspects of myself. Although I wasn’t raised in Mexico, my family has raised me with things like Dia De Los Muertos and Tamales at Christmas. I grew up learning and speaking Spanish in my house and it is just a very important part of my life.

  • 9/11
    • The fall of the twin towers was one of the most devastating things to happen to the U.S. It has greatly shaped how we interact with other countries and the ways that people in this country interact with each other. While it is a great opportunity to show this nationalism for America, it has also caused certain negative sentiments towards people of color especially those from the middle east. It has caused a difficult relationship with people of color and I have also seen the effect of such negative events on the people around me.

  • Barack Obama
    • The Obama presidency was a big shift in the history of America. Although there is still so much to work towards in the American society regarding race and inequality, it was an opportunity for people of color to be represented in our government. His election is something that will be talked about for many years to come and a moment in history that has shaped the American identity.

  • Catholicism
    • I have been raised in a Catholic family meaning that I attend mass almost every Sunday. Since I can remember, I would be in the church pews with my family praying and having mass. Although I am not as religious as my family is, I know that certain beliefs are still represented in the core of my identity.

  • Juan Diego
    • St. Juan Diego is one of the major saints in the Mexican culture. I have realized that in my church we do not celebrate the appearance of Mary, but in my Mexican household, it is a very big deal. On this day, the may family holds a big celebration and meal to commemorate the occasion. It is a celebration that I look forward to each year( except for 2020) because it is a chance for my whole family to come together.

  • Corona Virus
    • The pandemic has greatly affected people all around the world. But in the point of view of a college student, it has affected my own college experience and the health of the people around me. It is something that will be talked about for years coming forward and might influence how the next couple of years might look like. As a result, this generation, in particular, will remember the day of fighting for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and the idea of quarantine.

  • Black Live Matter
    • From the Civil Rights movent to now, many Americans continue to fight for racial equality. It is still a work in progress and with the increasing growth of the internet, we are seeing more support for these movements. BLM is an ongoing movement that will shape the future of the U.S. especially since this social movement occurred in the middle of the pandemic.


  • Mexican Music
    • Mexican Music is a major part of my identity, it is what connects me with my family in Mexico and the States. From Mariachi to reggaeton and bachata, there is no other music that makes me want to dance as much as this one does. A major part of my identity, it is what connects me to the culture that I follow yet did not fully experience considering I lived in the States for most of my life.
  • Colorado 
    • While living in the U.S., I have grown up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is a beautiful state with mountains and snow for almost half of the year. I have noticed the population growth and the growth of the city.

My Identity Vs Egypt Identity

My Identity


Combination of Cultures

An interesting aspect of American national identity lies in the fact many people still associate with other cultures and identities while still being “American.” My grandparents and parents hail from Norway, meaning I have a strong sense of Norwegian national identity. However, I have never actually been to Norway and have spent my whole life in the States. This leaves me with an interesting combination of passed on traditions and cultural aspects that I have never fully experienced because I am detached from the actual country of my heritage.

Regional Differences

Because the United States covers so many different climates and geographic areas, national identity is uniquely correlated with the region you grow up in. A Californian and a Newyorker have two distinctly different understandings of what it means to be American. I grew up in West Michigan and Chicago. As an American, the region you grow up in influences everything from your accent to your interactions. Midwesterns often have a sense of urgency that many associates with cold seasonal weather that does not provide the ability to linger and chill. Some components of Midwest culture that have made it into my own national identity include: hard work creates success, respect for those in your community is extremely important, self-reliance is expected and being a bad neighbor is the ultimate sin.


The United States is home to the largest number of Christians in the world. My family and I are included in that group of nearly 205 million. In the United States, it is incredibly easy and safe to practice your Christian faith. Not only is it easy, but in some circles, it is almost expected. In West Michigan, where I grew up, you were expected to be Christian. For many, Christianity is more than a religion in the sense of how it ties people together. Many communities are shaped and created in the local churches, and that was the world I grew up in West Michigan.


Religion and the State

Growing up in a Christian family I grew up hearing and understanding the importance of the Pilgrims who created a settlement at Plymouth Harbor. Their understanding of how religion should work within a community and the government still affects me today. People are free to practice their faith without religious persecution, however many Judeo-Christian values and morals are represented in the government. From “in god, we trust” inscribed on currency to laws upholding a worldview of a Christian, the United States is closely tied to faith. Many of the founding fathers of the United States claimed to be Christian. Identifying as a Christian in the United States is also closely tied with the history and foundation of the country.


Foundation of the Country

Similar to the Pilgrims establishing a community in New England, the revolutionary war also carries a large sense of national identity because it contributed to the establishment of the country. The United States was born out of rebellion, so today most Americans still have a similar mindset. This manifests itself in the fact that many Americans enjoy doing things differently compared to other countries and the idea that individuals are capable of drastically affecting the status quo.


Military and Wars

War and the military play heavily into the American psyche. Winning both world wars, the cold war, and smaller proxy wars have created a sense of superiority for most Americans. This sense of superiority militarily is warranted, the U.S. easily has the world’s largest military budget. Not only do Americans have a sense of superiority due to the military, but we also feel a sense of justification because we have won pretty much every war we have participated in. For me, the military has shaped my life because my Grandfather served for 23 years. The money he earned throughout his career allowed my father to live a comfortable life and acquire quality education. The military also developed skills and attributes in my grandfather that have been passed down generations to me.



Regardless of what the current political climate says, the U.S. owes much of its success to immigrants. The U.S. is home to the immigrant mentality. Work hard and always look for the next opportunity and you will succeed. Due to the prevalence of immigration, few people identify as only American. Similar to my own identity having Norwegian influence, all around this country there are Italian Americans or Chinese Americans. All this ties back to the common understanding that at one point we were all immigrants. In many ways, it is humbling because we know most of our ancestors came here from terrible conditions seeking a better life.


American Dream

Closely tied to the prevalence of Immigrants is the existence of the “American Dream.” Although the “American Dream” is different for each person and undefinable, the concept of what it means remains the same for everyone. This concept, in theory, says that if you work hard and capitalize on opportunities that come your way you will live a better life than your parents and leave behind an even better life for your children. This is what my grandparents and countless other immigrants were chasing. The American Dream is generally understood to rest on the importance of hard work. For better or worse, the average American spends more time working than people in other countries.


Two Party System 

The U.S. identity has been molded by basically two parties. For this reason, people tie their own national identity with allegiance to a certain political party. This polarization creates a large divide between fellow citizens. However, the divide between republicans and democrats feeds into one’s national identity. Part of one’s national identity could be disagreeing with someone of the opposite party. People’s national identity is created and formed when they enter the voting ballot and choose between two candidates of opposing beliefs. People identify with a political position that has its unique understanding of what being an American means, further solidifying their understanding.


Nature/National Parks 

I debated between using the Grand Canyon or Yosemite, this shows just how beautiful and diverse the American geography is. Whether it is cornfields, forests, mountains, or swamps Americans are proud of the geography of where they live. National identity is oftentimes found in the most basic elements of a country, the land. Geography is a physical and tangible component of one’s national identity, and Americans have plenty of examples that prove America’s significance. The fact that certain places are deemed national parks and under the government’s supervision proves they are a source of pride and identity for Americans.



From energy to technology, industries dominate the American economy and to a lesser extent people’s lives. Mega-Corporations such as Apple of Coke employ millions, have extreme amounts of influence, and impact our lives daily. American industries are at the cutting edge of utilizing and developing technology. Along with industry comes brands that people feel a connection to. Oftentimes these brands are homegrown in the United States, and supporting a brand feels like you are supporting your country.



Americans love their sports. Baseball is “America’s pastime”, the Superbowl draws in 100s of million viewers, and all around the world, the NBA is recognized as the highest level of basketball in the world. America is the destination for the best athletes in the world that want to show off their skills. Anytime I turn on the tv I can watch a variety of insane athletes from all around the world compete in different sports. Beyond sports played in America, the Olympics plays a key role in one’s national identity. Since I was born, America has received the most medals at every single Olympics. National identity not only lies in the popularity of sports but the excellence of American athletes.


Egypt Identity 



Past, present and future nothing is as important to the Egyptian way of life and country as the Nile river. For thousands of years, the Nile has been the center for travel, agriculture, economy, and urban centers. Even people outside Egypt immediately associate the Nile river with the nation of Egypt.


Pyramids of Giza

The pyramids are one of the wonders of the world for a reason. The grandeur, magnificence, and intrigue have surrounded them for centuries. They are physical reminders of the power and strength of the old dynasties that ruled Egypt. They are not only monuments to the Pharaohs buried within, but to the glory of Egypt. The question of how these colossal pyramids were constructed has stoked debate and intrigue of people around the world. An Egyptian must be proud that something your nation created thousands of years ago is still looked at with amazement and wonder.


The Desert 

In the juxtaposition of the areas close to the Nile, the deserts of Egypt make up a large majority of the land. The small number of people here live lives so different from people in Cairo or other developed urban areas along the Nile. The duality of Egypt is a large part of the identity. On one hand, you have the lush areas along the Nile, on the other, you have desolate stretches of desert.



Few people throughout history have captured the imagination and intrigued as Cleopatra. Known for her beauty and cunning, no better ambassador exists for a country. Whether it be influencing other nations, developing Egypt’s economy, or being an extremely powerful woman, has many components that make her a perfect source of national pride and identity.



Today Islam dominates in Egypt. Roughly 90% of the country is Sunni Muslim, meaning a large majority of the country can attach religion to their national identity. When such a high proportion of fellow Egyptians practice the same religion as you, being a citizen and Muslim often blend into the same thing. Just because there is such a majority does not mean there is no unique and diverse history of religion in Egypt. The other roughly 10% are Coptic Christians, which makes up the largest Christian organization in the Middle East. Even though Islam is heavily practiced, many stories that relate to Judeo-Christian religions occur in Egypt such as the book of Exodus. Going back further in history the ancient religions of Egyptians explained through hieroglyphics are also interesting and distinctly Egyptian.


Thousands of years of History 

The sheer amount of history alone provides an interesting component to the Egyptian identity. Compared to the mere couple hundred years of American History, Ehytpain history spans thousands of years. This insane amount of history is full of dynamic dynasties, changing religions, evolutions of cultures, territorial expansion, and interactions with other ancient civilizations. An Egyptian must think that Egypt is destined to exist forever. For thousands of years, they have adapted to conquerors such as Alexander the Great, assimilated to cultures, and converted to religions.


Suez Canal

Built in the 1800s, the Suez Canal completely revolutionized trade and travel and Egypt was at the forefront of all of it. With the construction complete Egypt became a large player in international trade. Egypt’s geographic position was proven to be extremely important once again with the construction of the Suez Canal. The construction of the canal itself is a source of pride for Egyptians.


The Mediterranean 

Egypt’s location makes it unique because it fits into many different geographic categories. Egypt can be classified as part of North Africa, part of the Middle East, or as a Meditarian country. These diverse geographic differences allow for Egypt to not just be seen as one type of country. It’s not only the desert, not only the Nile, not only the Mediterranean. Because Egypt is home to varying geography, the people have a sense that Egypt is complex and can not just be summarized. There are beautiful aspects completely different from each other.


Library of Alexandria 

The burning of the Library of Alexandria is considered by many ones the worst losses to humanity. Before it was burned Alexandria was the main scholarly destination in the world. The people that visited Alexandria shaped the ancient world as we know it. For an Egyptian, knowing that your country used to be a leader in art, medicine, and other scholarly work is most definitely a source of pride. The fact that the burning of Alexandria is considered a tragedy just points to the importance and irreplaceability of the library.


Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone was the key to understanding ancient hieroglyphics from thousands of years ago. Unlocking the past through the reading of previously unreadable and forgetting hieroglyphics adds to the historical significance that ties in so closely to the Egyptian Identity. It’s one thing to be able to point to an object from thousands of years ago and understand the story, context, and purpose of said object.



Papyrus was cultivated along the Nile river and was turned into anything from paper to sails throughout Egypt. It was a large part of the Egyptian economy and agriculture. In many ways, papyrus can be attributed to the success of many of Egypt’s Dynasties. It was extremely versatile and could be inscribed on, making it extremely invaluable for any developing civilization. Because it was such a prevalent component of an Egyptian’s lifestyle and culture, papyrus still plays a role in the sense of national identity.



Cats were a very prevalent part of ancient Egyptian culture. Cats were depicted in divine ways and gods often took the form of cats. There is evidence of domestic cats in Egypt nearly 5000 years ago, meaning cats have been a part of Egyptian culture and war of life earlier than any other known culture in the world.






Comparing Egypt and America Regarding National Identity


This photo presents an example of what decision-making looks like for the Egyptian government. The politics of Egypt are based on republicanism, with a semi-presidential system of government. The current political system was established following the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

The Great Pyramid and the Sphinx are shown in this photo. These famous structures vibrantly display the beautiful, ancient history and culture of Egypt. Pyramids are constructed as tombs for pharaohs which exemplifies the significance of the afterlife in ancient Egyptian society.

In this photo, a beautiful Egyptian mosque is shown. Islam is the dominant religion in Egypt with around an estimated 90% of the population. Almost the entirety of Egypt’s Muslims are Sunnis, with a small minority of Shia and Ahmadi Muslims. Islam has been recognized as the state religion since 1980. This shows that Islam is an important part of Egyptian culture.

This is a photo of an Egyptian Coptic church that presents its remarkable architecture and design. Tradition holds that Mark brought Christianity to Egypt and founded the Coptic church during the first century. It is one of the oldest Christian churches in the Middle East and was first founded in Africa. They comprise the largest Christian community in the Middle East.

The Egyptian hieroglyphic script was one of the writing systems used by ancient Egyptians to represent their language. Hieroglyphics are significant to ancient Egyptian culture as many hieroglyphics have sacred or religious meaning.

This image portrays some of the tourism that exists in Egypt. Tourism is one of the leading sources of income, crucial to Egypt’s economy. At its peak in 2010, the sector employed about 12% of the workforce of Egypt serving approximately 14.7 million visitors to Egypt and providing revenues of nearly $12.5 billion.

Egyptian gods and goddesses, shown in this photo, are a crucial part of ancient Egyptian culture because pharaohs and Egyptian citizens often modeled their lives after pleasing these gods. The ancient Egyptians believed in many different gods and goddesses. Each one with its own role to play in maintaining peace and harmony across the land.

This is an image of the Egyptian flag. The current flag of the Arab Republic of Egypt consists of red, white, and black horizontal stripes. Red represents the sacrifices and blood of Egyptian martyrs, white symbolizes peace, black stands for the dark period of occupation, and the eagle represents strength and power.

This is a photo of the beautiful Nile River- the longest river in the world. The most important thing the Nile provided to the Ancient Egyptians was fertile land. Most of Egypt is desert, but along the Nile River, the soil is rich and good for growing crops. Today, the river continues to serve as a source of irrigation, as well as an important transportation and trade route.

This photo represents traditional Egyptian cuisine. Egyptian cuisine is a bit of a mix due to geography, history, and religion. Traditional Egyptian food shares a lot of similarities to the Eastern Mediterranean region and is very heavy in vegetables. Vegetables are an important part of traditional Egyptian cuisine both historically and in modern times. This is mainly thanks to the rich farming soils along the Nile river and delta. Historically, vegetables were also traditionally much cheaper than meat, making them a more popular food choice and a staple in many traditional Egyptian dishes. Another important factor to consider is the Coptic Christian community of Egypt, who follow strict diets throughout the year that are essentially vegan.

This picture displays what the Egyptian currency looks like. The Egyptian pound is the currency of Egypt. It is divided into 100 piastres, or ersh or 1,000. Obverse designs tend to feature an Islamic building with reverse designs featuring Ancient Egyptian motifs (buildings, statues, and inscriptions). Currency is significant because modern society cannot function without it.

The Egyptians were obsessed by life and its continuation rather than by a morbid fascination with death. The tombs, mortuary temples, and mummies that they produced were a celebration of life and a means of continuing it for eternity. The ancient Egyptians mummified their dead because they believed that the physical body would be important in the next life. Thus, preserving the body in as lifelike a way as possible was the goal of mummification.


The U.S. dollar was first designated as the world’s currency in the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement, and it is the most powerful currency in the world. It’s backed by the world’s third-largest economy, the United States of America. The strength of the U.S. economy supports the dollar’s use as a global currency.

This is a photo of an American mosque. I wanted it to show how there is religious freedom in America even though many people associate Christianity with America. In the United States, freedom of religion is a constitutionally protected right provided in the religion clauses of the First Amendment. This also shows a similarity between America and Egypt that there is an Islamic following in both countries.

This image shows a Baptist church. The most popular religion in the U.S. is Christianity, comprising the majority of the population (73.7% of adults in 2016). Protestantism is significant in America because the Reformation sparked Western notions of representative government and equality and provided the ideological justification for modern banking and capitalism. In short, it’s impossible to unravel America’s Revolution, culture, or economy without taking Protestant doctrine into account.

The Washington Monument is a renowned monument in America that has been the setting of many important speeches and historical moments. Built in the shape of an Egyptian obelisk, evoking the timelessness of ancient civilizations, the Washington Monument embodies the awe, respect, and gratitude the nation felt for its most essential Founding Father.

The American flag has stood as a symbol of freedom and justice for over 225 years. The stripes represent the original 13 Colonies and the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well; red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

This image shows petroglyphs created by the Indigenous people who existed in America before pilgrims and colonizers arrived. When European explorers arrived in America, Native Americans did not communicate through writing as we know it. Instead, they told stories (oral histories) and created pictures and symbols. This is a significant part of American history because it shows that there were small tribes/ civilizations in America at an early time. These petroglyphs are also reminiscent of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

This is a photo of the Capitol Building where many decisions are made for the United States; the House and Senate reside here. America is a democracy. Supporting democracy not only promotes such fundamental American values as religious freedom and worker rights, but also helps create a more secure, stable, and prosperous global arena in which the United States can advance its national interests.

America does not have any particularly traditional American food because the country has a very diverse population with many different cultures and food. American cuisine was influenced by Europeans and Native Americans in its early history. Today, there are a number of foods that are commonly identified as American, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, macaroni and cheese, and meatloaf. Americans are also known for consuming a large number of fried foods.

This image represents the tourism that exists in the United States. Tourism in the United States is a large industry that serves millions of international and domestic tourists yearly. Foreigners visit the U.S. to see natural wonders, cities, historic landmarks, and entertainment venues. Americans seek similar attractions, as well as recreation and vacation areas.

This drawing represents a significant event in American history- the Civil War. The Civil War had a greater impact on American society and the polity than any other event in the country’s history. It was also the most traumatic experience endured by any generation of Americans. At least 620,000 soldiers lost their lives in the war, 2 percent of the American population in 1861.

Hollywood is a neighborhood located in Los Angeles, California, that’s also synonymous with the glamour, money, and power of the entertainment industry. As the show-business capital of the world, Hollywood is home to many famous television and movie studios and record companies. America is extremely influential in the entertainment and media industry.

New York City was the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790 and has been the largest U.S. city since 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the U.S. by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and is a symbol of the U.S. and its ideals of liberty and peace. New York City is also one of the most populous cities in America. It is also a huge showcase of diversity in the United States.

Post by: Grace Davis