Coptic Christmas is celebrated by some Orthodox Christians every year on January 7th and is different from the worldwide Christmas celebration held on December 25. The date is set by the Julian calendar that pre-dates the Gregorian calendar used by different Christians. The day reflects healing and inner peace and is praised by numerous Orthodox Christians around the globe, including the Coptic Christians of Egypt.
A day before Coptic Christmas, a great many people observe a short fast and praise the day by feasting with loved ones. The food most commonly eaten or served during this day incorporates nuts and new dried fruits, lenten bread, mushroom soup, vegetables and spices like peas, potatoes and garlic, bobal’ki, slow-cooked kidney beans with garlic, potatoes, and seasoning, baked cod, and honey.
Christmas is a day when the Lord Jesus Christ was born, who Christians believe was the Son of God and Savior of the world. Most feel that the actual birth date of Jesus Christ is unknown because of the little data accessible. In the Bible, the Gospel of St.
Matthew says that Christ was conceived during Herod the Great’s rule. The birth date of Jesus by the vast majority is celebrated on December 25th, yet some according to the traditional data praise the equivalent every year on January 7th.
Coptic Christmas is otherwise called Old Christmas Day. In 1952 England and Scotland changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, for example., yet the individuals who didn’t acknowledge this move kept praising it on January 7th.
The January 7th date is valid somewhere in the range of 1901 and 2100 yet since 2101 Coptic Christmas should be celebrated on the 8th of January, after one day.
Why is Coptic Christmas celebrated on 7th January?
The difference in the timing of the Christmas celebrations extends back to 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII, decided that the Catholic Church ought to follow a new calendar – called the Gregorian calendar, as it was nearer to the solar calendar than the Julian calendar.
The Julian calendar had been set up by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.
Since it was the catholic pope who administered on the adoption of the new calendar, numerous churches not adjusted to the papacy ignored it, for example, Protestants and the Coptic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Protestants acknowledged the new calendar in the mid-1700s.
In 1922, the patriarch of Constantinople decided that the Gregorian calendar ought to be followed for the recognition of Christmas, however not for Easter, and this decree was followed by numerous individuals of the other Orthodox churches.
Coptic Orthodox Christians involve 90% of Egypt’s 10 million Christians. The Coptic Orthodox Church has been a distinct Christian body since the schism that occurred at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD when the Coptic Church parted from the rest of the Christian Church.
Coptic Christmas was pronounced a national holiday in Egypt in 2005 by the government of Hosni Mubarak.
Coptic Christmas: Customs and Traditions
On the evening of January 6th , Copts observe a fast – and shun drinking and eating from 3 pm until midnight, They additionally go to church for an extraordinary ritual or service.
Before Christmas, some Coptic Christians may observe a 43-day vegan fast which they break after mass on Coptic Christmas Day.
In the run-up to Christmas day, Coptic Christians fast for 43 days, avoiding food products that come from animals. The fasting period begins on Nov. 25 and goes on until the day before Christmas.
On Orthodox, Christmas Day individuals meet up in homes for parties and celebrations.
A popular dish for Coptic Christmas is Fattah, a combination of rice, meat, and crispy bread. Roast Pig is the traditional Orthodox Christmas Day meal.
Children persistently wait for Baba Noel (Father Christmas), the Copts’ own version of Santa Claus. Stories have it that Baba Noel discovers his way through windows and leaves a few gifts, frequently in return for an Egyptian treat called “Kahk.”
The month before Christmas is called Kiahk, the fourth month in the Coptic calendar where Copts sing special songs of recognition or “Kiahk tunes” on Saturday evenings. The month plays a significant role in Copts’ preparation for Christmas.
After the Christmas service on the eve of Jan. 7, Copts break their fast with a feast of meat. A most loved Coptic dish during Christmas is designated “fatta,” which comprises of rice, bread, and boiled lamb or meat.
Coptic Christian traditions
Much the same as somewhere else around the globe, individuals decorate their homes with lights, Christmas trees, and decorations. Churches are lit with candles and lamps.
A popular meal served on Coptic Christmas Day in Egypt is Fattah, a traditional Egyptian dish cooked with meat, rice, and crispy bread, ordinarily topped with a tangy tomato-garlic sauce.
Fattah is likewise popular among the region’s non-Christian populace, used as a celebratory dish on the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.
On Christmas day, families and companions will visit one another and trade gifts. Likewise shared at Christmas are traditional Egyptian sweets like sugar-coated almonds and kahk, a butter-based bread biscuit dusted with powdered sugar and usually stuffed with nuts or a date paste.
Christmas day is additionally an opportunity to appropriate food to individuals in need. Typical types of food given out incorporate a sweet treat called zalabya, a fried doughnut topped with a dusting of icing sugar, and bouri, or mullet fish.
Much the same as in the Muslim celebration of Eid, children will wear new clothes to celebrate the day and play out on the roads.
For members of the Coptic Christian church, Christmas is frequently a period for reflection and spirituality.
How is Coptic Christmas celebrated?
On the prior night Coptic Christmas day, a church service will occur that customarily goes on until midnight. After the service, individuals share a particular kind of bread called “qurban”, an offering. The bread is marked with 12 dots, representing the 12 apostles of Christ.
The priest will pick one of two qurbans to represent the offering, representing the body of Christ, which is appropriated during the Communion towards the finish of the service.
The other qurban will be appropriated to the assemblage after the service as a type of blessing.
Pope Tawadros II, the current Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Egypt, records an annual spiritual message identified with the Feast of Nativity. This is broadcast on TV and saw in Coptic Orthodox churches around the world.
The fast is viewed as complete after the service and worshippers share a common “agape” feast, a term starting from one of the Greek words for “love”.
The time has come to celebrate with loved ones and to at last eat the food they have kept away from for longer than a month, with dishes centered around meat, eggs, and dairy.