Sunday, April 27, 2008

Joyous Fasika

It's Ethiopian Easter today and I wanted to wish you all a joyous Fasika. We are not doing anything special to mark the day today but I couldn't let it pass without mention. We are trying to celebrate as many Ethiopian Holidays as possible. I hope that as our local Ethiopian Adoption community continues to grow, we will have a lovely group of families to celebrate these days with soon.

Easter or Fasika, is the last of the major feast days of the Ethiopian year and takes place about two weeks later than the Roman Catholic and Protestant Easter of the West. Fasika preceded by the eight-week Lenten fast, and the clergy along with their devout parishioners, practice total abstinence from food for the last forty-eight hours, beginning with Good Friday. By early Saturday evening the churches are thronged. The special Easter service begins at midnight and ends at dawn on Sunday with the lighting of the Resurrection candles. Ethiopians do not consider that the new day begins at one stroke past midnight, but rather at daybreak. In Addis Ababa, a twenty one gun salute announces the dawn of Easter Day.

Feasting begins with an early-morning breakfast after church and continues throughout the day, into Easter Monday, and even longer, with sheep slaughtered and many special wats prepared for the occasion. Easter Sunday is rather quietly spent. Many families read from the Bible on this day and play such games as gebeta, a chesslike game in which stones or large beans are moved about on a wooden board with sunken cups.

Source: Ethiopia: Land of the Lion by Lila Perl. New York: William Morrow, 1972, pp.75-76.