Sa'idi people

A Ṣa‘īdī (Egyptian Arabic: صعيدى‎, Coptic: ⲣⲉⲙⲣⲏⲥ Remris) is a person from Upper Egypt (Arabic: صعيد مصر‎, Coptic: ⲙⲁⲣⲏⲥ Maris).[2] Approximately 40% of Egyptians live in Upper Egypt, and 80% of Egypt's severe poverty is concentrated in Upper Egypt.[3] Millions of Upper Egyptians have migrated to Lower Egypt for work opportunities.

Upper Egyptians (Sa'idis)
Total population
ca. 40 million (2020) 40% of Egypt's total population
Regions with significant populations
 Egyptca. 40 million (2020 estimate)
Sa'idi Arabic (native and ancestral)
Egyptian Arabic (auxiliary)
Predominantly Sunni Islam;
Coptic Orthodox Christian, Sufi and Baháʼí Faith minorities[1]


The word literally means "from Ṣa‘īd" (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 Ṣa‘īd, as a geographical term, means "highland, upland, plateau".[5] The suffix "-i" denotes the adjective. The word Ṣa‘īdi is pronounced in the dialect itself as [sˤɑˈʕiːdi] or [sˤɑˈʕiːdej] and the plural is [sˤɑˈʕɑːjda] or [sˤɑˈʕɑːjde], while pronounced in Egyptian Arabic (Northern Egyptian) as [sˤeˈʕiːdi] and the plural is [sˤɑˈʕɑjdɑ].

In the Sahidic (Upper Egyptian) dialect of Coptic, the name for a person from Upper Egypt is ⲣⲉⲙⲣⲏⲥ (pronounced rem/rīs) meaning "person of the South" or ⲣⲉⲙ(ⲡ)ⲙⲁⲣⲏⲥ (pronounced rem/pma/rīs or rem/ma/rīs) "person of (the) place of the south (i.e. Upper Egypt)".[6]

Stereotypes and jokesEdit

Ṣa‘īdis and their dialect are the subject of numerous Egyptian stereotypes and ethnic jokes, mainly from the upper-class Egyptians who own businesses in Egypt's major cities and used to hire Upper Egyptian workers in construction fields. They are popularly assumed to be rural simpletons than other Egyptians. An example of such stereotyping is the popular 1998 film Ṣa‘īdi fil-Gama‘a al-Amrikiya ("A Ṣa‘īdi in the American University") starring Mohamed Henedi,[7] whose main character is portrayed as less fashionable than the other Egyptian students of the American University in Cairo.

Religion in Upper EgyptEdit

The Upper Egyptians follow Islam and Christianity as Upper Egypt has a significant Christian population and a rich Coptic Christian history. For instance, Sahidic was the leading Coptic dialect in the pre-Islamic period. In the last few decades the high proportion of Coptic Christians in Upper Egypt has enabled some Christians to hold prominent political posts there. For instance, Qena Governorate had a Coptic Christian governor in 2011. Sahidic dialect of Coptic is used as a Liturgical language by the clergy and among Sa'idi Copts.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2010-09-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Abu-Lughod, Lila (2006). Local Contexts of Islamism in Popular Media. Amsterdam University Press. p. 24 pages. ISBN 90-5356-824-7.
  3. ^ "Young People in Upper Egypt: New Voices, New Perspectives".
  4. ^ Zuhur, Sherifa (2001). Colors of Enchantment. American University in Cairo Press. p. 456 pages. ISBN 977-424-607-1.
  5. ^ Wehr, Hans, 1979. A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. Ithaca: Spoken Language Services Inc.
  6. ^ WE Crum, A Coptic Dictionary, 1939, p. 300
  7. ^ Sa'eedi fil gamaa el amrekeia on IMDb