Ethiopian Good Friday

Ethiopian Good Friday is observed by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Churches is one of the largest Oriental Orthodox churches in the world and one of the few Christian churches that are located in sub-Saharan Africa. In Ethiopia, Good Friday is known as Sekelet in the Amharic language, which means “sorrow” or “grief.”

Since this holiday falls on the Friday before Ethiopian Easter, it occurs at a date later than what Western Christians observe Good Friday on. Ethiopian Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox, which places the date of this holiday somewhere between April and May — depending on the year.

The History Of Ethiopian Good Friday

Good Friday in Ethiopia is tied closely to the history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church—a church that dates all the way back to the early days of Christianity. The Ethiopian Church was founded by the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized by the apostle Philip and was founded on a synodal level during the 4th century.

Throughout the centuries, the church suffered greatly from a number of setbacks and religious persecution. Even so, the church has managed to maintain its independent liturgical practices and age-old traditions.

Observing Ethiopian Good Friday

As is the case with most other denominations of Christianity around the world. Ethiopian Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence. From midnight to the end of Good Friday services, the faithful are expected to avoid eating or drinking. There are also liturgical services which include the reading of the Gospel accounts of Christ’s crucifixion and death. These services are often punctuated with prayers, songs, hymns, and other spiritual displays.

Ethiopians also celebrate this holiday with a colorful 2-day celebration that involves robes in bright colors and the parade of a replica of the Ark of the Covenant. Hundreds of thousands of Christians participate in this event and subsequent festival, and these events are usually followed by a sprinkling of holy water on the congregation.

Other practices that are observed on this day include feet washing, a reflection of grief by the wearing of black clothing and veils, and by prayer. After the conclusion of Good Friday services, a traditional meal such as Injera (Ethiopian flatbread) and lentil stew is used to break the fast. People also spread the word about this holiday across the Internet using the hashtag #EthiopianGoodFriday.

Where is it celebrated?
Ethiopia (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2023)
April 14 Friday
Next year (2024)
May 3 Friday
Last year (2022)
April 22 Friday