Coptic Easter

The 14th April marked the day of Coptic Easter.  Having met the wonderful Dr. Jacob, Michael, Isaac and Ramy over here in Kenya – a group of lovely Egyptians – Tom and I found ourselves invited to an Egyptian Easter party.On the evening of the 14th we got ourselves ready in our finest attire (which is not saying much really), and got ourselves over to Dr. Jacob’s house.  We were the first to arrive, everyone else still being at church.  In the kitchen there was the biggest mound of food I’ve ever seen, and the smells tortured us as we sat in the living room, waiting for the other guests 🙂

On TV, a recording of Coptic Easter, where a miracle happens every year – a candle lighting by itself when carried into a religious building by the pope.  Just in the middle of the event, we had a good old Kenyan power-out, plunging us into darkness.

Dr. Jacob, Tom and I sat there for a good half hour, chatting in the dark.  All of a sudden, Egyptians started arriving, greeting us, and bustling around the house – up and down the stairs, in and out of the house.  There was a lot of rapid Arabic!  All of a sudden Dr. Jacob announced “we’re moving the party”… we all hopped into cars, and found ourselves driving round Nairobi looking for an Egyptian household where there was still power.

Eventually we stopped at a block of flats, where there was also no power.  Parking in the car park, we all got out, and talked in quick Arabic.  Tom and I stood there with not much notion of what was happening.  Eventually, feeling so cold, I got back into the car and promptly fell asleep.

I was woken some time later, by Tom laughing at me, telling me that the party is starting.  Getting out of the car, it turned out the carpark flood lights had been turned on, and the party was to be held in a covered corner of the carpark.  It was 11pm already!  However, one problem remained – the car with the food in it appeared to have gone missing.  Dr. Jacob thrust a beer into our hands, and we watched on in anticipation.

“Come over here, come over here” we were directed, “we’re going to play a game”.  Two lines of people queued up facing each other.  The self-appointed MC explained “so, each person has to say something about the other person in the line, for example: this guy is the fat one, this guy is the bald one…and so on – Get it?”  Tom and I didn’t get it.  “Now, everyone turn around to have your backs to each other”.  We did so.  We waited.  “Ok, game over!” … some things really are lost in translation… 🙂

Anyway, the food arrived!  And we were treated to guest treatment as everyone queued up to pile their own masterful piece of cookery onto our food, and watch us taste it.  There was every type of tasty meat, and pasta, and rice… amazing.  Every time we felt we could eat no more, there would be a shout of “You’re not eating, EAT!” and someone would dive at our plates wielding a piece of meat.

It was an amazing cultural (and culinary) experience, and as everyone settled down on the floor to chatter in Arabic, we excused ourselves with many “Happy Easter!”s.

A big Thank You to Dr. Jacob and his friends for hosting us and making us a part of Coptic Easter!


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