Christmas celebrations in Egypt are full of excitement. Most Egyptian Christians belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church. They celebrate Christmas not on the 25th December but on 7th January. 43 days before Christmas they have a special fast. They don't eat anything containing products that come from animals. This is called 'The Holy Nativity Fast'. On Christmas day the people go to church for a special Service. Most of them visit more than one church. It is kind of a Christmas Safari, where they meet up with their friends and families. Why are they walking from church to church?
The Festivities remind of the Holy Family and their Flight to Egypt
When Jesus was born, Herod the Great was king of the Jews. When the three wise men from the east informed Herod of the birth of a king in Bethlehem, he ordered the Massacre of the Innocents. Fortunately, an angel told the Holy Family to flee to Egypt, where they remained until Herod had died.
Joseph, Mary and the infant Christ made their way through the Judaic desert to Egypt. The Holy Family discovered many springs and wells in the area of the Nile delta and valley. Many years later, in every village where the Holy Family made a rest a chapel or church was built. Moreover, in many villages we find mention of a certain palm tree, which not only offered shade to the Holy Family but nourished them with its fruit as well.
The Christmas Tree
That is why the tradition of the Christmas Tree comes from Egypt. Originally the Christmas Tree was a palm tree. An Egypt monk brought the idea of the Christmas Tree to Europe, where the palm tree was replaced by a fir.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year
Angelika and the team of africa-junior