Last Friday the Copts in Egypt celebrated the start of the New Year 1726 Anno Martyrum. The Coptic calendar is the calendar of the ancient Egyptians, but the first AM year marks the beginning of the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian in 284AD. This was the time during which Roman persecution of the Egyptian Christians peaked; thousands upon thousands of Egyptians preferred to die rather than deny their Christian faith. The persecution was such a significant event in their history that they started the AM calendar with that date.
Today, Copts celebrate with Holy Mass and praises in church. They sing the famous hymn which derives from Psalm 65 and says: “Crown the year with Your bounty, and Your carts overflow with abundance”. They eat red dates, which are in full season, seeing in the red the colour of the blood of the martyrs, the white hearts the purity of their souls, and the hard stone their solid faith.
Watani wishes its readers a happy new year.