You don't have to travel to another continent to see pharaohs, queens and pyramids.

Try taking a trip down White Lane to St. Demiana's Coptic Orthodox Church the only Coptic Orthodox Church in Bakersfield.

This weekend St. Demiana held its ninth annual Coptic Christian Festival, a festival for church members and the public.

"We wanted to be open for the community, we don't want to be isolated," said Father Daniel Azers Sous, a Coptic Christian leader of 20 years and Father at St. Demiana. 

Members of the church donned costumes of the kings and queens of Egypt, while traditional Coptic music played throughout the festival grounds. 

Father Beshoy Dawood describes Coptic Christianity as, "Egyptian culture and in light of Christian culture, was baptized." 

Dawood said that the word "Copt" refers to the Egyptians. And that the Coptic Christian church is one rooted in tradition and the teachings of the Apostle, also known as Saint Mark. 

Mediterranean fare such as baklava, shawarma and falafel, were among the multitude of good-smelling treats at the festival.

Unique to the Coptic culture were some traditional sweets sold at the desserts tent. This included, caster pudding, rice pudding and was described as "Egyptian cookies" and "Egyptian pie," which is a sweet bread.

New this year to the festival was the expanded photo booth tent, where you could have your photo taken against a background of the pyramids, or with a 3-D inflatable pyramid. The photos could be printed on paper or on a t-shirt.

"People see just a building, but we are a traditional church based on the teachings of the Apostles," Dawood said.

Dawood explains the emphasis of iconography inside of the church as well. "Its very unique, it's theology in color," Dawood said. 

Those who were at the festival could experience that theology in color Dawood was referring to, as St. Demiana was giving narrated tours every hour during the festival. 

"The U.S. is diverse and can be confusing at times," said Dawood "We want people to know that we're welcoming."  

St. Demiana will also be hosting a "Holyween," which encourages the youth to dress up as theological figures, monks or saints, rather than in horrifying and scary costumes.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.