Coptic Easter is a holiday that’s rooted in centuries of tradition, both for Coptic Christians in Egypt as well as around the world. It’s the end of Holy Week, which begins with Palm Sunday and continues on through Covenant Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.
All throughout this week, Christians read prayers in Arabic and Coptic, and continue with the 55-day period of fasting that occurs before Easter Sunday — which is the end of the Great Fast.
After services on this day, families will enjoy banquets and wear clothing that they bought specifically for the occasion. This is a holiday that celebrates Christ’s ascension to heaven, and as a result, is a day of joyous celebration.
The History Of Coptic Easter
The Coptic Church was invented around 50 AD when the Apostle Mark visited Egypt. Mark is regarded as the first Pope of Alexandria, and that makes this branch of Christianity one of the earliest Christian groups outside of the Holy Land. And Coptic Easter is a holiday that has been with the faith since the beginning.
During the 4th century, Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity across the Roman Empire and this led to the widespread adoption of Christianity among the Egyptian people. As the Christian population in Egypt continued to grow, Coptic Easter as a tradition grew with it.
Despite centuries of hardship, and sometimes persecution, the Coptic Orthodox Church has continued to not only survive in Egypt but has thrived. It has also spread to other parts of the world.
Today, Coptic Easter is one of the more important religious and cultural events in Coptic communities and celebrates the resurrection of Christ, as well as the hope for new life and a renewal of the spirit.
Observing Coptic Easter
Coptic Easter is the culmination of Holy Week, as well as the end of a long fasting period known as the Great Fast. All through the 55-day period of this fast, Copts abstained from certain foods that included meat, eggs, and dairy.
It was also a day for Christians to abstain from certain other indulgences and pleasures to focus on their spiritual journey. This period ends with the end of Easter Sunday services. On this holiday, Coptic Christians attend church services that celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
These services are festive and joyful, as opposed to the solemn services the previous days during Holy Week. When services have concluded, families will often gather for celebratory and traditional banquets that include special foods such as Feseekh (salted fish), Kahk (shortbread cookie), Taro (a root vegetable), and Molokhia (a soup that’s served with rice).
On this day, people can also spread the word about this holiday across the World Wide Web by using the hashtag #CopticEaster.