Observed annually on September 11th, Nayrouz is a feast that commemorates confessors and martyrs in the Coptic Orthodox Church. Officially known as the Feast of Nayrouz (or, Neyrouz), it marks the first day of the Coptic New Year. It’s believed that the name of this holiday comes from a misunderstanding.
According to popular belief, the Arabs mistook the celebration of the Coptic New Year (called Ni-Iarōou) with the Persian feast of Nowruz — which is the etymological relative of Nayrouz. However, not everyone believes the origin of this celebration’s name and believe that it came fully from a Persian holiday.
The History Of Nayrouz In Egypt
In order to understand Nayrouz, it’s necessary to have at least a basic understanding of the Coptic Year. According to historians, the Coptic Orthodox Church began in 284 AD when Diocletian became a Roman emperor.
His reign would be marked by the torture and execution of Christians, and many of these atrocities occurred in Egypt. Since Coptic Christians felt that these were the worst times for them, they used the identifier A.M for the Coptic year. A.M means Anno Martyrum, which roughly translates into Year of the Martyrs.
During the end of the 6th century and the beginning of the 7th century, Khosrow II would come to occupy Egypt. Persian control of the region lasted for a decade, but its influence on the Coptic New Year can still be felt to this day in Egypt.
Quick Facts About Egypt
Below are some quick facts about Egypt for everyone to consider as they observe Nayrouz on this day. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s take a look at the following facts below.
- Egypt is home to the last remaining Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Pyramids of Giza.
- Egypt was home to many gods, and some gods fell out of favor over time.
- The gods who persisted throughout most of ancient Egyptian history are the gods of Ra, Isis, and Osiris.
- Even though Cleopatra was born in Egypt, she was actually Macedonian Greek.
- British archaeologist Howard Cart unearthed the tomb of King Tut in 1922.
- Alexandria in Egypt is named after Alexander the Great.
- Cairo is not only the largest city in Egypt, but it’s also the capital city.
Observing Nayrouz In Egypt
During this celebration, many Copts will take the time to remember the martyrs who were killed during the Year of the Martyrs. It’s also customary for people to eat red dates, attend religious services, and visit with friends and family members. People can share this day using the hashtag #Nayrouz on social media.