Eid AlFitir(Ramadan)

what is Eid? When directly translated, the Eid meaning is “the festival of breaking the fast” and commemorates the end of a month-long fast throughout Ramadan for Muslims in the UK and around the world. The festival is a very important time in Islam and allows families, loved ones and communities to come together and celebrate following a month of abstinence and dedication to Allah (SWT).

This is important because it marks the end of Ramadan, the month in which the Holy Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Throughout Ramadan, Muslims around the world undertake a fast between the hours of sunset and sunrise and spend a lot of time in self-reflection while studying the Qur’an and connecting with Allah (SWT) on a spiritual level. After a full month of sacrifice and dedication, Eid ul-Fitr is a time to come together with family and loved ones to enjoy everyday blessings.

Eid Al-Adha

The day of Eid-ul-Adha falls on the tenth day in the final (twelfth) month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar; Dhu-al-Hijjah. The day that celebrations fall on is dependent on a legitimate sighting of the moon, following the completion of the annual Holy Pilgrimage of Hajj –  which is an obligation for all Muslim’s who fit specific criteria, one of the important Five Pillars of Islam.

The celebration of Eid-ul-Adha is to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah SWT and his readiness to sacrifice his son, Ismail. At the very point of sacrifice, Allah SWT replaced Ismail with a ram, which was to be slaughtered in place of his son. This command from Allah SWT was a test of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness and commitment to obey his Lord’s command, without question. Therefore, Eid-ul-Adha means the festival of sacrifice.

Ethiopian Easter (Fasika)

Fasika is a climactic celebration. Fasting becomes more intense over the 55-day period of Lent for Orthodox Christians, Catholics and optionally for some Protestant denominations, when no meat or animal products of any kind, including milk and butter, are eaten.[2][3][4] Good Friday starts off by church going, and is a day of preparation for the breaking of this long fasting period.

The Orthodox Christians prostrate themselves in church, bowing down and rising up until they get tired. The main religious service takes place with the Paschal Vigil on Saturday night. It is a somber, sacred occasion with music and dancing until the early hours of the morning. At 3:00 a.m. everyone returns home to break their fast, and a chicken is slaughtered at midnight for the symbolic occasion. In the morning, after a rest, a sheep is slaughtered to start the feasting on Easter Sunday. While Catholics and Protestant denominations have special Easter Services/Masses bringing in people from various smaller community churches together to participate in an Easter sermon and celebration.

In EthiopianEritrean Orthodox Christianity or the Tewahedo faith, it is believed the near-sacrifice of Abraham‘s loved son Isaac (Genesis 22), which was a test of faith from God to Abraham, was interrupted by a voice of an angel from the heavens, and the sending of a Lamb for the sacrifice instead. This Old Testament story is said to be a prophetic foreshadowing of God sending his only beloved son for the world as a sacrifice and the fulfilling of Abraham’s promise.

New Years

The word Enkutatash is heavy with symbolism as it not only means the ‘gift of jewels’ but also represents the end of the rainy season —the time of year during which the Ethiopian landscape is covered with bright yellow flowers called Adey Abeba.

The Ethiopian New Year’s celebration is said to date back to the time when the Queen of Sheba returned from her visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem in 980 BC. The Queen was welcomed back in her country with plenty of jewels, also known as “enku” in the official national language.

Enkutatash celebrations for the Ethiopian New Year typically last an entire week and revolve around family gatherings.

On New Year’s Eve, Ethiopians light wooden torches —known as “chibo” in the local language— to symbolize the coming of the new season of sunshine now that the rain season comes to its end.

Foreign nationals that visit the country during this time of year may want to learn to say Happy New Year in AmharicEnkuan Aderesachihu!

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