Last weekend was Ethiopian Orthodox Easter, the end of a 55 day fast, and the return of tibs! Tibs, a half kilo of red meat sliced, diced, and served with injera and awazi (spicy berebere sauce) is back on the menu. The last 55 days of fasting has meant no meat products, including milk, eggs, and cheese. For some more devout orthodox, it has also meant no eating before 3pm every day.
But why 55 days instead of the 40 days of Lent? Apparently weekends don’t count so the fasting really is 40 week days… but you still have to fast on Saturday and Sunday so it ends up being 55 days.
The point is, everyone is now eating meat. You can hear the chickens and roosters every morning, the goats that know their number is up, and the dogs who can sense all the carcasses coming their way. It’s quite a cacophony of potential food. I always a enjoy a rousing game of “goat or child?” their brays sound so much alike.
Like other Easters, Fasika is a family holiday. I was able to eat with a few families here in Gondar, stuffed full of doro wot (chicken stew) and siga wot (red meat stew… goat). Luckily I avoided the home brews of tella and arake, the former a grassy, watery beer, the later fire in a bottle.
But I got a great surprise at my coworker Edward’s house! His brother who lives in America had sent over some Red Label Scotch. Clearly I drank it on the rocks… I’m not solidifying any stereotypes about foreign women on that one… oops.
Even though I’m a ‘homatarian’ also known as I don’t buy meat at the market and only cook vegetarian meals or care package meats in my house, I’m happy to have meat back in the restaurants. And the price of eggs will finally go down.
So Melkam Fasika (Happy Easter!), the S’aom (fasting) is over and we can eat siga (meat) again!