Ethiopian Christians observe Good Friday

(APA-Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) Over 30 million Ethiopian Christians are observing Good Friday, which is the main part of the Easter (Passover) celebrations.The Christian community in Ethiopia had been busy preparing for the celebrations of Easter with various spiritual ceremonies in over 50,000 Orthodox Churches across the country, as well as in Protestants and Catholic churches, home to around 80 million people.

Abuna Paulos Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

During the Good Friday celebrations, many Christians are going to churches to attend special prayer ceremonies, remembering the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abune Paulos, along with other religious leaders urged the Christian community to observe the day with love and care for each other and work hard for religious tolerance in the country.

Easter will be colorfully observed on Sunday 4th April 2010 where various religious activities will be held throughout Ethiopia.

On Friday and Saturday, many people will be busy buying various commodities for the celebration, which is one of the main national holidays for the Ethiopian Christians who celebrate the day with their Muslims neighbors and relatives.

On Saturday, on the eve of Easter, many people will spend the night at church attending a special prayer ceremony, which will remember the rising of Jesus Christ.

Ethiopia believe  to have a part of the original cross on which Jesus was crucified. Ethiopian Easter, or Fassika, takes place in churches throughout the country. It is a much more important festival than Christmas, and involves 55 days of severe fasting without meat or dairy products. (However, they do get weekends off, so it’s really 40 days, like
Catholic Lent).

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Fassika. This day marks the beginning of the Holy Week and celebrates the story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.

This is a climactic celebration. Fasting becomes more intense over the 55-day period and the truly devoted do not eat between Thursday prayers and Easter morning.

Easter Friday is a day of preparations and church-going. On Easter Eve, the main religious mass takes place. People come to church with candles. It can be a somber and sacred event. In many places, anticipation builds until — with a noisy rush of sound and momentum  candles are lit from person to person, out of the windows of the church and all the way out in town.

After the Saturday night service (which winds up early Easter morning), people can return home where they will break their fast with the slaughtering of a chicken or sheep (or both).

Half of the original cross on which Jesus was crucified is said to be at Gishen St. Mary’s Church, located in Wello, some 600 kilometers north of Addis Ababa. The other half of the cross is said to be in Israel.

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