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Title: Sa  
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Subject: Sa'idi Arabic, El homaydat, Ethnic groups in Egypt, Filipinos in Egypt, Islam in Egypt
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Upper Egyptians (Sa'idis)
Total population

ca. 32 million (2008)

40% of Egypt's total population
Regions with significant populations
 Egypt ca. 21 million (2008 estimate)
Sa'idi Arabic, Egyptian Arabic
Mainly: Islam, Coptic Orthodox Christianity and a very small minority of Bahá'ís.[1]

A Sa'idi (Arabic: صعيدى‎) is a generic term used in Egypt to refer to a person from Upper Egypt (Arabic: صعيد مصرSa'id).[2] 40% of Egyptians live in Upper Egypt, 80% of Egypt's poverty is concentrated in Upper Egypt.[3] Millions of upper Egyptians have migrated to Lower Egypt for work opportunities. The Sa'idi people are traditionally rural.


The word literally means "from Sa'id" (i.e. Upper Egypt), and can also refer to a form of music originating there,[4] or to the dialect spoken by Sa'idis. The Arabic word Sa'id, as a geographical term, means "highland, upland, plateau".[5] The suffix "-i" denotes the adjective.


The word Sa'idi is pronounced in the dialect itself as or and the plural is or , while pronounced in Egyptian Arabic (Northern Egyptian) as and the plural is .

Stereotypes and jokes

Sa'idis and their dialect are the subject of numerous Egyptian ethnic jokes. They are popularly assumed to be rural simpletons, physically stronger but less clever than other Egyptians. An example of such stereotyping is the box office hit Ṣa‘īdi fil-Gama‘a al-Amrikiya ("A Sa'idi in the American University", i.e. the American University in Cairo) (1998) starring Mohamed Henedi.[6]

Religion in Upper Egypt

The region has a large Coptic population and a rich Coptic history. For instance, Sahidic was the leading Coptic dialect in the pre-Islamic period. In the last few decades the high proportion of Copts in Upper Egypt has enabled some Christians to hold prominent political posts there. For instance, Qena Governorate had a Coptic governor in 2011.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^  
  3. ^ "Young People in Upper Egypt: New Voices, New Perspectives". 
  4. ^ Zuhur, Sherifa (2001). Colors of Enchantment.  
  5. ^ Wehr, Hans, 1979. A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. Ithaca: Spoken Language Services Inc.
  6. ^ Sa'eedi fil gamaa el amrekeia at the Internet Movie Database
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