A Guide to Celebrating Coptic Easter in Egypt

Coptic Egypt
Coptic Egypt | © Andrew A. Shenouda / Flickr
Sarah Marzouk

Easter is a great celebration for Christians in the memory of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, three days after being crucified. Forms of celebration differ from one place to another, so here’s how Egyptian Christians mark this important period.

Holy Week

Holy Week, the lead up to Easter, is the final week of the great fast that lasts for 55 days. It starts with Palm Sunday, seven days before Easter, and commemorates Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem, a week before his crucifixtion. People gather, pray and perform religious ceremonies in churches, in addition to carrying palms to symbolize the ones that were sprinkled in front of the prophet, when he rode to Jerusalem.

Palm Sunday

Apart from the first Sunday, other significant days in the week are Maundy Thursday, marking Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, Good Friday (Sad Friday) in memory of his crucifixion, and Holy Saturday, which is Easter’s eve—when Coptics go to church, pray, then gather at night to celebrate and break their fast. The celebration also includes new clothes that are worn for the feast.

Christ’s crucifixion

Sham El Nessim

In Egypt, the day after Easter is known as Sham El Nisim, a national celebration of the beginning of Spring, that goes back to the times of ancient Egypt. Egyptians from all religions celebrate together by going out to the parks, coloring eggs, and eating salted fish.

Easter Eggs

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