Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Fasika (Easter): O Glorious Day

Our agency, AGCI, sent us our usual Ethiopian Program update with a lesson in this weekend's holiday; Easter or "Fasika" in Ethiopia.
Here is what they sent:
"This year, Easter will be celebrated all around the world on Sunday, April 24th. In Ethiopia, this significant holiday, known as Fasika, is a very important festival in Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, or the “Tewahido faith. Many argue that Fasika is the most celebrated holiday in Ethiopia and is considered more significant than Christmas. According to Orthodox theology, Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday was for the purpose of fulfilling the word of God. It is believed that the near-sacrifice of Abraham’s son, Isaac, with the interruption from an angel and the sending of a Lamb for sacrifice instead (Genesis 22) was a prophetic foreshadowing of God sending his only beloved Son to be the world’s sacrifice and the fulfilling of Abraham’s promise.
Fasika is preceded by Lent (Hudade or Abye Tsome), 56 days of fasting where Ethiopians do not eat any meat or animal products, including dairy. On Easter eve, churches are filled with believers who prostrate themselves, bowing down and rising up 101 times. Candles are lit for the colorful but somber service that includes music and dancing. This service, known as Paschal Vigil, lasts into the early morning hours of Easter Day. Once the service ends, people return home to prepare for a fast-breaking feast, which includes the slaughtering of a chicken at midnight for the symbolic occasion. After resting, a sheep is slaughtered to commence the feasting of Easter Sunday, which includes injera and traditional drinks such as tella or tej."
Last evening, on Good Friday, we went to First Baptist Church of Orlando for an Easter presentation. We arrived at 7pm. Hard to imagine years ago at that very time what it must have been like for Jesus' people. At 3pm He was crucified and by 6pm He was placed in a tomb. Wow!

After reading about Fasika and then last night...I can't help but really ponder the significance of this holiday and how I just don't feel it gets the same reverence as Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I believe Christmas and the nativity story IS true and important, but Christ's sacrifice is what saved the world! To see our Savior hanging last night and imagining what that must have been like to personally and then what it must have been like to witness then...overwhelming. Tim and I came home talking about how we could stand to rethink how we choose to celebrate these two holidays in our home. 

I can't get enough of Casting Crown's song: Glorious Day
Happy Fasika this weekend

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