The Coptic (Orthodox) Church in Egypt celebrates today with the Epiphany. However, the rituals that followed during this celebration originated from the Ancient Egyptian era. The ancient Egyptians used to celebrate winter by diving in the Nile as it marked the start of the agricultural season by plowing the land and spreading the seeds. Moreover, the Church kept using the original calendar used by the ancient Egyptian farmers. Moreover, the current farmers still follow the same timings for harvest and sowing.
The tight relation between the cultural rituals of Ancient Egypt and the Coptic Church contributed to involving them in the Egyptian national celebrations. The Epiphany depends on covering the newborn children by water three times, the age of the girls should be 40 days old, while the age of the boys should 80 days old.
During the celebration, the Egyptians have two main meals: Taro and sugarcane. The white color of Taro symbolizes the sense of purity and serenity of the newborn children. Also, Taro is fully covered by water while sowing it which is similar to the covering of the children’s bodies by the water.
On the other hand, it has a sticky liquid which is removed only by sinking it in water. This symbolizes the new life that child gains after washing all his/her sins. Regarding the symbol of the sugarcane, it has a very harsh cover that symbolizes the ability to hold on to pain with patience. Moreover, it consists of a group of internodes helping it to be taller, therefore, sugarcane symbolizes the continued spiritual knowledge and morals the human gain through his/her life. Epiphany is considered a national celebration alongside its Christian sense.
Contributed by Rana Atef