The Lenten period surrounding Easter is one of the longest and most revered in the orthodox religion. It lasts 55 days and is accompanied by numerous traditions, particularly in the week following “Hosanna” or Palm Sunday, where people celebrate by spending the day praying in churches and not eating until 1 p.m., when their fast ends.
During this week, people begin preparing for the Easter holiday by purchasing and preparing the ingredients for traditional dishes. They can break their final days fast with their families at 9 a.m. on Easter morning, just a few hours after midnight.
Migib Getahun and her family have always observed Easter and hold it in high regard. “It is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, so throughout the week we sing his praises and pray to him. It is one of the holidays that makes me very happy, and when I celebrate it, I feel very close to my religion, especially because this is the longest and most difficult season of Lent, which requires a great deal of dedication.”
Despite price increases, Migib always prepares what she can for the holiday celebration. She makes every effort to spend it with her family, making it a day of love and unity. Even when living conditions become difficult, she makes certain they are able to celebrate with what they have.
Last year’s Easter preparations for Migib and her family were significantly different, and everything was more affordable. She says that prices have increased significantly this year, with chicken, sheep, beef, onions, butter, teff, and everything else doubling in price.
“To be honest, we are always just happy with what we got. If the price of chickens, sheep, and beef is too expensive this year, then we will just buy what we can and celebrate the holidays with that. What matters to me is that we are able to spend it and rejoice with my family,” she explained.
She has also observed more peace and security in the country during this year’s Easter holiday compared to the previous Easter holiday. She says all she does is pray for peace. “In all honesty, all that matters is if there is no peace; it does not matter how much money you have, because it is difficult to enjoy the holidays regardless,” she said.
Migib and her two children have always made sure to observe Easter’s traditions, such as breaking their fast together at 9 a.m., as well as the traditions they have within their own family, despite the yearly price fluctuations of food products purchased for holidays such as Easter.
Etsegenet Abebe, Migib’s 24-year-old daughter, recalls some of the traditions that she and her family used to observe during previous holidays, when they would invite their extended family and play traditional music while eating and drinking.
In her family, cooking was not merely a chore for her mother. In fact, they each play a role in holiday cooking. “My brother typically enjoys preparing dulet and also contributes to the preparation of other meals. In addition to cooking Doro Wot with my mother, we also prepare kinito, which we are supposed to do today. One of the things I enjoy most about Easter is that everyone comes together to cook and prepare for the holidays.
In the past, they would purchase both sheep and chicken for Easter, but as prices increased over time, they began purchasing fewer items. Etsegenet recalls that last year they decided to purchase chicken and participate in kircha to get beef.
“This year, I don’t believe we will participate in Kircha, as the current cost of bulls makes it prohibitively expensive.”
Despite the fact that they must make sacrifices annually, they intend to celebrate Easter with their family and make the most of what they have.