April 2019: Ethiopia / Addis Ababa: Fasika Tesfaye

«Melkam Fasika»

In the Orthodox Churches of the East – according to the Julian calendar – Easter is celebrated a week later this year than we are here in the West (Gregorian calendar). In Ethiopia, people want “Melkam Fasika” – a blessed Easter. Previously, they were fasting for two months. Our PBF employee in Addis Ababa bears the name “Fasika” and sends some pictures of Palm Sunday. Fasika Tesfaye writes:

The Easter of Easter

My name is Fasika Tesfaye (“Fasika “- direct meaning – Easter, which I get after the celebration of Easter since I was born around the celebration day); I am a married and a father of one beautiful girl at this time waiting for a second boy to join the family; I am celebrating my 32th birthday with this Easter Celebration.

Growing up as a child, I would be very happy and delighted when the Easter season approaches since my birthday will be celebrated too, but as I grew up and come to understanding of the deeper meaning of Easter, my view, approaches and ways how I spent it changed.

Beginning my childhood, while I was living with my families (father and mother, brothers and sisters), there were some common ways how I spent the season, but now since I have my own family things changed a bit and here is how I spent it:

As we all know the Easter season starts with the lent, so for us here in Ethiopia and specifically at saint Gabriel catholic church, as we start the lent, we have an envelope distribution that will be distributed to all parishioners to put money in it for Easter that will be used to feed the poor organized by the youth and since I have been the youth coordinator for almost ten years I always participate actively organizing this distributing, collecting and feeding the poor.

So my Easter starts with the beginning of the lent /though it started when I was born called Easter/ thinking of these coordinating works for the poor after that there are each Sundays with their names and meanings. The major ones are palm Sunday one week before Easter where we remember the entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem  with the green leaves with happiness and uplifting songs then follows the Holy Thursday where Jesus washed the feet of the disciples so we do it at a parish level too where the parish priest washes the feet of twelve kids which we, the youth organize that too; following the holy Thursday comes the holly Friday where all parishioners spend the whole day all together in the church in fasting and prayer of “Segdet” in Ge’ez /eastern right in a different way which I believe is done only in Ethiopia.

After that we also celebrate a Holy Saturday with a liturgy of the mass with a distribution of green leaves/ a grass in different structure called “Ketema to indicate the rising Jesus and the life ahead which is blooming, then the Easter Sunday – which we celebrate it with a mass at the time of 12:30 till 3:30 after mid night then the whole family goes to our families house which is found around the church and whoever is comfortable to do so will eat the first feasting meal  then early morning will be the ceremony of “Qercha” slaughtering of the cow those who want to start the celebration with raw meet starts during this time then after eating breakfast the whole extended family with wives and children will spent the whole day together and will conclude the day with a blessing of the elders found there. After a week the feeding of the poor will be done where the youth group coordinates, buy a cow prepare it and feed the poor.

I want to thank the almighty God, my families and all who walked in my path in this special occasion.

Fasika Tesfaye