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Easter is Ethiopian Christianity's biggest holiday. Time to drink some tej and eat doro wat.

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Lalibela, an array of churches in Ethiopia dug out of an enormous stone that date back to the 12th century. Photo by: Abel Shifferaw.

 

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Another Fasika, or Ethiopian Easter, has come and gone without East Africa’s darling son The Weeknd or Abel Tesfaye (yeah I’m jelly of him, give me some toast), visiting the motherland. Maybe next year, as Tesfaye hinted in a recent Vogue interview.

One of the most important holidays for Ethiopian Christians, Orthodox Easter fell this year on May 1st. After an intense fast, many celebrated the occasion with locally made but not gluten free tej (an alcohol brewed with honey), and some bomb doro wat eaten with injera or a, “thin crepe like bread of a sponge consistency” as a non-Ethiopian might annoyingly say.

Easter in the East, as I like to call it, fittingly follows the eastern computus or calculation, a method of complex observation used for hundreds of years. The moon and how it shimmies on a pale but dark spring night’s waters is observed (something like that) to figure out what day Easter should fall on. Fasika is usually celebrated after Easter in the West. It is one of the most important Christian holidays.

Easter, is of course, a celebration of the alleged resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth after he “died for our sins." The method of death was crucifixion. Those who worked in the Roman criminal (in)justice system were a brutal bunch.

What isn’t widely known is that Christianity has a long history in Ethiopia, arguably the longest history.

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Ethiopian Christian art. Photo by: Abel Shifferaw

 

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The lands of what were to become Northern Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Kingdom of Axum, is thought by many to be the world’s first Christian nation. The Armenians dispute this, and assert that it was they who were first to officially adopt the Abrahamic religion.

Ethiopia has many firsts and many lasts. It was the last free nation standing in the face of colonialism and the first nation to convert to Christianity.

A Greek born in Tyre, Lebanon named Frumentius is credited with influencing King Ezana of Axum and subsequently the whole empire to convert to Christianity.

Prior to the introduction of Christianity both traditional religions and Judaism were practiced. Ethiopian Jews or Beta Israel as the Emperor Ezana began calling them, revolted following the institution of Christianity, and formed an independent kingdom.

Centuries later, as Islam began to gain influence, Axum became geographically isolated off from other Christian nations. As the countries around it converted to Islam, Axum remained the only Christian nation in the region. And centuries after that, as much of Africa fell to colonialism, Ethiopia remained free.

Although Christianity was practiced in the area decades prior, it was in the year 330 AD it was made official by King Ezana (primary sources say he put a ring on it), making Axum or the area of modern day Ethiopia and Eritrea, arguably, the world’s first Christian nation.

Lalibela. Photo by: Abel Shifferaw

Ethiopian Easter: Celebrating Fasika In The World’s First Christian Nation

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Watch the Music Video for Rema's New Single 'Beamer (Bad Boys)'

The buzzing Nigerian artists shares a catchy new banger.

Buzzing Nigerian artist Rema shares his first single and music video of the year "Beamer (Bad Boys)."

The track is the first single since the release of his 2019 EP Bad Commando. Produced by Rvssianm, the song features a sultry, drum-heavy beat and a catchy hook in which a chorus of female voices sing of their love for "bad boys."

The steely music video features several love interests and flashy cars as Rema moves through the city on an undisclosed mission. The video features crisp, scenic shots directed by Fxrbes.

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The ornate gilded copper headgear, which features images of Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles, was unearthed after refugee-turned-Dutch-citizen Sirak Asfaw contacted Dutch 'art detective' Arthur Brand. (Photo by Jan HENNOP/AFP) (Photo by JAN HENNOP/AFP via Getty Images)

A Stolen 18th Century Ethiopian Crown Has Been Returned from The Netherlands

The crown had been hidden in a Dutch apartment for 20 years.

In one of the latest developments around art repatriation, a stolen 18th century Ethiopian crown that was discovered decades ago in the Netherlands, has been sent back home.

Sirak Asfaw, an Ethiopian who fled to The Netherlands in the '70s, first found the relic in the suitcase of a visitor in 1998, reports BBC Africa. He reportedly protected the item for two decades, before informing Dutch "art crime investigator" Arthur Brand and authorities about his discovery last year.

The crown is one of only 20 in existence and features intricate Biblical depictions of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. Historians believe it was given to the church by the warlord Welde Sellase several centuries ago.

Read: Bringing African Artifacts Home

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Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Passes Away

The former Egyptian president, who was ousted in 2011 during the Arab Spring Uprising, was aged 91.

Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak passed away yesterday according to reports by the BBC.

The former statesman's death comes barely a year after his successor and Egypt's first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi, suffered a fatal heart attack.

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Moonchild Sanelly. Image courtesy of the artist.

Emerging Artists: Submit to Be a Part of MIDEM Talent Exporter

The new program will select a group of 22 artists from across the world through an open call for entries.

MIDEM, the music world's leading conference and trade fair that takes place in Cannes, France, has announced their new accelerator program for emerging artists across the globe.

The MIDEM Talent Exporter will select a group of 22 artists from across the world through an open call for entries.

"This live matchmaking format will shine a light on the most promising export-ready talent," a message from MIDEM explains, "and connect them with today's finest international talent buyers, including agents, promoters, festivals, media, PR, curators, music editors and A&R. They will also gain access to 10 music supervisors with the specific objective of building concrete business partnerships."

MIDEM Talent Exporter is born out of the Midem Artist Accelerator, a talent discovery and mentorship program that OkayAfrica has had the opportunity to be a part of. In the past artists like AKA, Bez, Moonchild Sanelly, Tshego, La Dame Blanche, Kyan, and other have been part of the program.

As MIDEM explains, the program gives artists the opportunity to "meet international business partners, be scouted by international festival bookers, find an international booking agent, find local promoters, find local PRs, get your music placed in film, TV, gaming, sign publishing and/or sub-publishing deal(s), sign recording deal(s), integrate music playlists, be spotted and highlighted by international media & journalist," and more.

Emerging artists can submit now for MIDEM Talent Exporter 2020.

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