Easter is the day when we reflect on and celebrate our victory over death. Ethiopians increase the size of their celebrations and the rigour of their fasting as Easter Sunday approaches. Catholics and Orthodox Christians observe a customary 55-day fast from all meat and animal products, with Good Friday spent preparing for the fast’s breaking after an early-morning church service. This has a lot in common with Lent, which is a 40-day period of fasting before Easter Sunday in the Western Church. Orthodox Christians will kneel and stand up during the Paschal Vigil on Easter Saturday until they are too exhausted to continue.
Before dancing and music start until the early hours of the morning, the vigil begins with solemn and sacred reflections. After a symbolic chicken is killed at 12 o’clock in the morning, everyone heads home at 3 o’clock to break their fast with their families. Orthodox Christians frequently brew traditional alcohol from fresh honey, known as tej, and enjoy it with friends and family around the dinner table. Doro bread, a honey and milk loaf, is baked in perception, and coffee ceremonies take place in the afternoon.
On Easter Sunday, a sheep is sacrificed to mark the beginning of the feast, and all religious traditions hold special services and masses that unite their respective communities. The story in the Old Testament where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son puts his faith to the test is symbolised by the sheep.
God sends a sacrificed lamb to Abraham’s son’s home just before Abraham is about to carry out God’s instructions. According to legend, the story foreshadows Jesus’ death as the world’s sacrifice because He is the only son of God.