Rethinking “Sham el-Nessim”

I wanted to wish all Egyptians a Happy Sham el-Nessim. For those who celebrate it, here are some things to keep in mind:
 
1. EGYPTIAN NATIONAL HOLIDAY: This is an Egyptian national holiday that always falls on the day after the Coptic Orthodox Christian Easter. The festival was originally celebrated by ancient Egyptians (Pharaohs) more than 4500 years ago and is a celebration that all Egyptians, Christians & Muslims, participate in; it is considered a national festival, rather than a religious one.
 
2. NAMING: The name of the holiday is derived from the Egyptian name of the Harvest Season, known as Shemu, and literally means “sniffing the breeze.” It is one of the oldest Egyptian festivals in which Egyptians celebrate the official beginning of spring.  According to annals written by Plutarch during the 1st century AD, the Ancient Egyptians used to offer salted fish, lettuce, and onions to their deities on this day.
 
3. NON-CHRISTIAN CELEBRATION: In other words, this is a celebration that has pagan origins and is in no way related to Christianity, albeit the dating of the holiday is connected to a Christian holiday. Just to be clear, this has nothing to do with Christ eating fish with the disciples after the resurrection. And let’s just for a moment pretend like it did, the consumed fish would be broiled, not “smelly” Egyptian sushi. 
 
4. HEALTH CONCERNS: Although many would argue that it is safe to eat “fiseekh,” (a salted fish that is left to pickle for several months), tens of people have been reported to meet their death every year during Sham El-Nessim, usually as a result of botulism.
 
Christ is Risen from the Dead trampling down death by death and bestowing life upon those in the tombs. Celebrate His presence in our midst, and let all that we do be to the glory of HIS name.

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