Orthodox traditions stay true during Easter

Easter Sunday in America is often associated with the Easter bunny, decorating eggs, Sunday mass, and being around family, but for a close-nit community of Coptic Orthodox Christians there are many more traditions to be celebrated that go beyond the American norm. Fr. Bishoy Kamel of the St. Marina Coptic Orthodox Church of Irvine has been with the church since it's creation in 2000, and conducted this year's Easter mass. The ceremony began on the eve of Easter at 8 pm and concluded early Easter morning at 1 am. The air was filled with "Boukour", the Arabic word for incense, which is used to bless the surrounding area of the church, as members of the congregation gathered to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The house of worship reverberated with the chanting of the worshippers, including the two priests who conducted the ceremony. Unlike a traditional service, the Easter performance takes place in a dark church, lit only by candlelight as the congregation chants "Christ has risen". The darkness is then broken with the sounding of a cymbal and drum as the lights are thrown on, temporarily providing the audience with a moment of blinding illumination.