EGYPT: Nose in Air

Most Egyptians looked as if they were smelling something. They were—the West Wind. One day this week the 17,000,000-odd dwellers along the Nile arose at dawn, took several deep breaths, and went picnicking. It was the Shamm en-Nesim, the one common holiday for all Egyptians—Moslem, Christian and Jew. Once a Coptic feast day, the Shamm en-Nesim means literally "the smell of the West Wind." Irreverent Americans in Cairo call it "sniff-the-breeze day." Egyptians believe that a lungful of the departing spring air will ward off summer languor—provided the sniffer manages to stay awake all day on Shamm en-Nesim.


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