Milton’s Coptic Christians gathered to mark the annual St. Abanoub festival with a picnic July 28. Abanoub was an Egyptian child saint who was executed for refusing to leave Christianity at the age of 12. Members of Milton’s St George and Abanoub Coptic Orthodox Church gathered to mark Abanoub’s feast day.
This year’s event was held at a new location. The church relocated from its Nippissing Rd. location to 555 Steeles Ave, where it officially opened last October. Organizer Rami Botros said the move demonstrated the community’s commitment to staying. “The one aim of this festival is kids,’ Botros said. This is the sixth annual St. Abanoub festival in Milton.
The six acre property allowed room for outdoor activities including water games, face painting a giant slide, and tropical drinks served in watermelons and pineapples. Inside the building was a light show. For Nourhan Guergis the feeling of the familiar was what drew her to the event. She had two kids participating at the event as volunteers. “The whole community is like that. The older helping out the younger,” Guergis said. The event is organized by kids. A game of angry birds, and a water gladiator game were among the new activities for 2019.
The festival brought Myar up from Oakville with her kids. She believes festivals like St Abnoub build unity. “It’s where we all come together as one,” she said. The festival doubled as a fundraiser for the church. “All of us were immigrants here, whether we’re here for two years, five years. To be supported by others to have fun with, play together. It’s very healthy for the kids, and for the parents,” Guergis said.
Dahlia Dasha emphasized the importance of the festival on the calendar. “They will keep on remembering this, even when they become grownup,” she said. She thinks youth volunteers serve as a positive role model for her three-year old son. “When he sees someone not too old it encourages him,” she added. For more information on the St. George and St. Abanoub Church please visit: https://sgsamilton.ca/our-new-church/