April is generally the month in which Passion Sunday, Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Maundy Thursday (celebrated in a designated upper room followed by the Seder Meal), Good Friday, Holy Saturday and The Festival Mass of the Resurrection (Easter) are celebrated unless Easter falls in Late March. These high holy days take precedence over other activities and practices at the skete during the month of April. However, we also consider April to be the month of pilgrimage.
On Easter Monday, the day after Easter we go on a picnic for Sham El Nessium: At Nazareth House we celebrate a tradition in commemoration of Luke 24:13-35, Emmaus Day or in Coptic Tradition : “Sham el-Nessim”. The tradition is to pack a picnic and travel as the men did while Jesus walked with them on the road to Emmaus. Other religiouns celebrate Sham el-Nessim as a welcoming of Spring.
Sham el-Nessim literally means “sniffing the air” or “breathing the air” occurring annually on Monday, the day after the Easter Sunday.
Sham el-Nessim is celebrated by both Christians and Muslims so it is considered both a national and religious festival in Egypt and other parts of the world. The main features of the festival are:
People spend the day out picnicking in any space of green, public gardens, parks, at the zoo, etc.
Traditional food eaten on this day consits mainly of salted fish (canned tuna works well), lettuce, scallion or green onions, tirmis or Lupini Beans and boiled colored eggs.
Even if you have to go to work on Easter Monday, take some time to walk away from your desk, get outside, sniff the breeze and celebrate your personal walk with Christ.
April 15th: 40 Hours Devotion (SS. Benedict Joseph Labre and Bernadette Soubirous) during which time we make sure to take a Rosary Pilgrimage