FASIKA, THE EASTER
The celebration of Easter is the death and resurrection of Jesus, his victory over death, is one of the main celebrations of Christianity. For Ethiopian Coptic Christians it is even more important than Christmas (Genna). Ethiopian Easter (Fasika) is a holiday to celebrate with a family, together with loved ones, to express good wishes and exchange gifts.
The period preceding Easter that in the Orthodox Christian Church is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence in commemoration of Christ’s fasting in the wilderness. Ethiopian Christians fast “fasting”, which consists of not eating meat or products derived from animals.
After Lent, the main acts of the Easter celebration are concentrated in the last four days, coinciding with the rest of the Christian communities.
On Palm Sunday Hosa’ena, Ethiopian Holy Week (Semune Himamat) opens. This day marks the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the celebration is similar to that of the rest of the Christian confessions.
Maundy Thursday (Selote Hamus) is liturgically celebrated with the foot-washing ceremony. On Holy Thursday night, Ethiopians commemorate the Last Supper by breaking the dabbo bread and eating the gulban, a bean stew and wheat.
Good Friday (Siqlet) begins by going to church, it is a day of fasting and prayer (all adults are obliged to observe the fast) and it is a day of preparation for the break of this period of long fasting.
On Holy Saturday the party begins, the families prepare the night celebration, the religious sing, pray and distribute green reeds (qetema) and blessings among the people.
At midnight, the meqdes of the churches (central chapel where the tabot is kept) are opened, the religious procession around the tabot (representation of the ark of the covenant) accompanied by the faithful, dressed in white clothing called Yabesha Libs and carrying candles.
At midnight, the drums break into a roar and the Resurrection of Christ is proclaimed. Three in the morning is the time when it is considered that the long fast can be broken. They celebrate the end of the fast by eating “dorowot” (chicken) and injera. This dinner that is served at home after the rite is one of the most anticipated of the year.
On Easter Sunday, in the morning, breakfast is prepared with the remains of dinner, families gather to eat, they sacrifice a got or lamb for the banquet and they dress their best clothes. Elders and priests receive food as a gift.
መልካም ፋሲካ (Melkam Fasika)