Whenever the term “Samaritan” is mentioned, two biblical things might be remembered: the parable of the Good Samaritan and the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. According to the Christian Bible, more than two thousand years after the ascension of Jesus to Heaven, the Samaritans still live, and they observe certain customs, including the following:
The Samaritans strictly observe the Sabbath day from evening to evening. Instead of lighting candles on the eve of the Sabbath, they spend their time in the dark. Other observations during the Sabbath day include:
- Refraining from eating hot foods.
- Refraining from going to any other place except the synagogue
- Suspension of sexual intercourse
However, as stated by Rabbi Meshulam of Voltera, the Samaritans in Egypt end their Sabbath after midday.
According to the Samaritans, the Passover is a sacrificial offering festival in which preparations begin long before the fourteenth day of Nisan. The Samaritan Passover is characterized by the following:
- The slaughter of a yearling lamb as recorded in Exodus 12:3. A small family joins the neighbors.
- Making the sacrifice by sunset.
- Eating the sacrifice hurriedly while wearing sandals and holding staff in their hands as stated in Exodus 12:11; hence, the Passover is considered as a highly moving ceremony.
- Dividing the sacrifice remains among children and women.
- Protecting the remains against any outsiders.
- Burning of the leftovers the following morning as a way of fulfilling the scripture in Exodus 12:10.
The Day of Atonement
The Day of Atonement is considered the holiest day of the Samaritan calendar. On this day, the Samaritans fast and pray continuously from evening to evening in accordance with the scripture (Leviticus 23:29), which states, “Indeed, any person who does not practice self-denial throughout that day shall be cut off from his kin.” Every person from weaned infants to the elderly fast on this day.