Last Wednesday marked the beginning of the Coptic month of Kiyahk, the midwinter month in the Egyptian calendar when the days are shortest. The popular rhyme goes: “In Kiyahk your morning is your evening; before you finish lunch prepare your supper”.
In the Coptic Church, Kiyahk is the month of spiritual preparation for Christmas which comes on the 29th of the month (7 January). On each of the four Sundays of the month a special Bible reading is read during Holy Mass, ultimately leading to the Christmas story. On the first Sunday the story of the angel Gabriel appearing to Zechariah and telling him of the birth of John the Baptist is read. The second Sunday comes with the reading of the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin. The third involves the story of Mary’s visit to
Kiyahk is the month of Advent and is famous for its special Midnight Praise which includes praises specifically sung for the Holy Virgin to celebrate her role in the Incarnation—the essence of Christmas. The melodies are uniquely uplifting and the words very simple and spontaneous. Churches are full; the majority of the congregation would not for the whole world miss it.
14 December 2008