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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class — Holidays in Egypt Series at ArabicPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Egyptian holidays and observances. I’m John, and you're listening to Lesson 7. Coptic Easter. In Egyptian Arabic, it’s called [عيد القيامة المجيد (Eid El-kiyamah El-magid)].
This the most important feast for Christians in Egypt, also known as "the feast of Resurrection" or [عيد القيامة (ʿīd el-ʾeyaāmah)]. Christians believe that Jesus rose three days after his death by crucifixion. Egyptians celebrate this feast on Sunday, just one day before the Spring Festival.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question—
Do you know why the week before Easter is called the "Week of Pains"?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Let's see how Christians celebrate Easter in Egypt.
The feast of Resurrection is preceded by a period of fifty-five days of fasting, or [صيام (Siyam)], during which Christians abstain from eating or drinking anything derived from a living creature, such as meat, or dairy products.
Easter and the Spring Festival are always interlinked. The Spring Festival is a celebration which dates back to the pharaonic period. It existed before Christianity. After the spread of Christianity in Egypt, Christians faced a problem that the Spring Festival used to be celebrated during the period of the Holy Great Fast. As the Spring Festival included fun, joy, happiness, and foods, it was difficult to celebrate this feast during the fasting period. Therefore, Egyptian Christians decided to delay the celebration of the Spring Festival to be after the period of fasting. They agreed to celebrate it on the day after the feast of Resurrection which always comes on Sunday, or [الحد (El-had)]. So, the feast of the Spring Festival always comes immediately after it, on Monday, or [الإثنين (El-Etnein)].
Celebration of the feast of Resurrection in Egypt begins on the preceding Sunday, which is called Palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday is the first day of the Week of Pains. During this day, Christians buy the palm leaves or [السعف (el-saʿaf)] in front of the church doors and turn these leaves into beautiful formations and keep them for blessing. On this day, Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem and its people received Him carrying the palm leaves to welcome Him.
On the Wednesday that precedes the feast of Resurrection, a large number of Muslims and Christians in Egypt go to Sinai, to the city of Arish, or [العريش (elʿarīš)], to swim in the sea at sunset, seeking treatment because it is believed that this is the area where the Prophet Job swam for treatment.
And now I'll give you the answer to the earlier quiz.
Do you know why the week before Easter is called the "Week of Pains"?
Christians call the week that precedes the feast of Resurrection the Week of Pains because they believe that Jesus Christ was tortured and crucified during that week after He entered Jerusalem.
So listeners, how was this lesson? Do you celebrate Easter in your country? Let us know in the comments and we’ll see you next time! Bye! إلى اللقاء (ʾilā al-liqaāʾ)!