Sevcik's Blog

A year in Cairo Egypt

Monday, February 27, 2006

Coptic fasting

Today marks the beginning of the Orthodox Lenten fast--55 days of Vegan living! The Coptic Orthodox Christians are abstaining from all animal products for the next 55 days. No meat, no fish, no cheese, no milk, no eggs (or anything cooked with eggs!). [With the bird flu scare there's no problem avoiding chicken right now--no one is eating it!] I brought bakery biscuits to English conversation class at the Coptic Cathedral tonight and no one could even eat those. When I asked them what they do eat, Gabriel said, "Vegetables."

As Teri put it, this kind of puts the average american's "i gave up jelly beans, which i don't even like, for Lent" into perspective.

The students were fascinated about our fasting in America, however. One woman really liked the idea that we choose something for fasting because it can really be a sacrifice. For these Copts, becoming vegan is just what they've come to expect--they've adapted. When I gave them the example of my Mom giving up chocolate for Lent or my dad giving up the TV (okay, this one was a lie) they were impressed. I didn't have the heart to tell them that most people really don't give up something that would be a big sacrifice to them. It's making me think this year I should really do that.

The students were also really interested to hear about Ash Wednesday, as they did not know about this "marking-with-the-ashes-to-remember-our-mortality-and-baptism" concept. Again, it helps me appreciate all these things I have just grown up to expect and not clearly understand...and motives me to research more into them. Thanks God!


  • At 2/28/2006, Blogger magdi said…


  • At 2/28/2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The spirituality behind Fasting is so immense that it is hard to describe it in a comment.

    Fasting is a means of weakening the Body, denying it what it wants in order for the spirit to lead the Body (instead of the other way around). However, this as a means of strengthening the sprit would be in vain if the spiritual food was also denied, and so Fasting and Prayer are the two key aspects of any Coptic fast.


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