Palm Sunday, Fasika (Easter) and Lidet or Gena (Christmas)
Palm Sunday is a Christian holiday which takes place on the Sunday before Easter. It marks the start of the holly week. Axum celebrates the most colorful Palm Sunday in Ethiopia. During the holiday Eve a group of devout Christians from all over the country set up tents within the church compound in order to participate in the mass services held all night long. Early in the morning on Palm Sunday the Replica of the Covenant is taken out of St. Mary church of Zion and is paraded around the church three times accompanied by worshipers carrying palm leaves. The plam leafs symbolize the palm branches which the crowd scattered in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. The replica of the covenant is then placed in a nearby field and the procession ceremony continues. During this day followers prepare and wear special rings and head bands made out of the palm leaves.
Fasika is the Ethiopian Easter which is celebrated after a 55 day long fast. The fasting is in commemoration of lent which is a time for repentance, for turning away from sin and returning to the kingdom of God. During these 55 days of fasting, with the exception of Saturdays and Sundays, devout Orthodox Christians do not eat or drink until 3PM every day. They also refrain from eating meat, fish and dairy products throughout the fasting period.
Church services are attended on the holiday eve during the evening. A vibrant mass service and prayer session is held followed by the annunciation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Little wax candles are held by the worshipers symbolizing the return from darkness to light. The next day colorful feasts are held in private households marking the end of the fast by eating Doro wot (spicy chicken stew), Fried lamb, Buttered stew with sesame seeds and other meat dishes.
Lidet or Gena (Christmas)
Gena is celebrated on January 9th in memory of the birth of Jesus Christ. Ethiopia Joys on this day for it is the beginning of the end of the suffering of all humans in the hand of the evil as a result of the sin Adam & eve committed, it is know that Jesus is born to save us from eternal suffering.
An all-night Procession takes place that continues until 9AM. Majority of Orthodox Christians celebrate this day in their village churches.
Lalibela is the place where all Ethiopian Pilgrims head to celebrate this special day. A group of country pilgrims walks for days carrying their own food for the journey to share the blessings of this unique religious event.