Egyptian festival returns north of Syracuse this weekend – eagle news online
NORTHERN SYRACUSE – After a year of confusion and isolation, the Egyptian festival of St. Mary is making a comeback to bring the community together again.
The Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Mary and St. Mina north of Syracuse holds its fifth annual Egyptian festival, adding a third day to unite and celebrate Coptic culture. The festival will take place on Friday July 23; Saturday July 24; and Sunday July 25.
“The main purpose of the festival is to let the community around us know who we are and to offer them a fun day out, a taste of our heritage and our food,” said Father Kyrillos Sadek, priest of St Mary and St. Mina, said. “Of course, fundraising helps too, but for me that’s not really the main focus. Rather, the main objective is an open house to invite the community to find out more about us.
The last festival was in 2019. According to Fr. Kyrillos, the event was a success and attendance has grown steadily since the festival began in 2016. He hopes this year’s return will result in participation similar, especially after the hardships and isolation the world endured over the past year.
“We’re trying to get the word out more, so people know more about the event. I think people this year are happy to feel that things are starting to get back to normal. I think last year has been a difficult year for everyone, so I hope that feeling of normalcy will come back to a certain level, ”said the father. Kyrillos said.
COVID-19 has dramatically changed church operations. For two months, the church was forced to shut down completely after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a series of measures to slow the spread of the virus on March 20, 2020. To keep New Yorkers inside, Cuomo ordered shutting down all non-essential businesses and gatherings, including religious congregations. The Coptic Church has not been able to celebrate Easter as one, a culturally significant holiday larger than Christmas within the church.
“We had to close our doors on the feast day and we couldn’t pray at mass or at services. We used to pray online, but basically online it’s different. I mean, people come for communion and so on, ”said Fr Kyrillos, adding that Sunday school has also been suspended and brought online. “It’s not at all ideal. We used to be able to visit people in their homes, organize fellowship events, travel, and community, but this has all been put on hold due to COVID. “
While the festival allows the church to raise funds for itself, Fr. Kyrillos says it’s more about allowing the congregation to come together and gain a stronger sense of belonging. . He hopes that the Copts and local communities will take advantage of their time to learn about Coptic culture and traditions together. The event will be accessible online via a live stream on YouTube and in person.
“Fundraising is not the main thing. We do it more so that communities know us and that our community connects. When you have a common goal, working on it helps strengthen ties, ”said Fr Kyrillos.
The Egyptian Festival of St. Mary takes place from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 23; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 24; and from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 25, at St. Mary and St. Mina Coptic Orthodox Church, located at 106 Church Street in northern Syracuse. Visit stmarystminacopticchurch.org/egyptfest.html for more information or to order food online.