For millions of Orthodox Christians around the world, April 29 marks Easter Monday, a day to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, or coming back to life. Easter is a very important holiday to Orthodox Christians, although it is known by different names – to Tigrinya speakers, it is known as ፋሲካ, or Fasika.
Our students Leteghebriel and Abrehet came to Canada from Eritrea, and they still celebrate Easter with their families today. They came to school in their most beautiful traditional clothes, because they wanted to share the joy of Easter and its meaning with their classmates.
According to our students, Orthodox Easter is a time of great joy and love for families who celebrate. Everyone wears their best clothes and jewellery, with married women especially wearing large and beautiful pieces. Women will have beautiful hairstyles created at the hairdresser, often taking over 3 hours to complete.
On the Saturday before Easter, families will go to church to worship and hear music. Some will bow down and rise up as often as they can until they are tired. This worship is very serious and goes on a long time – families may not go home until 3:30 am!
Back home, on Easter Sunday, families will celebrate Jesus’ coming back to life with huge feasts, music, and dancing. They will eat sheep, goat, or chicken, homemade beer, injera bread, and meat stew. Coffee with popcorn or bread is also served after the meal.
If there is a poor family in the community that cannot afford to buy meat for their Easter table, other community members consider it their responsibility to share what they have with that family. As Orthodox Christians remember that God sacrificed his son for us, Easter is a time to reflect, give thanks, and celebrate.