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A rival derivation of the holiday from Assyrian history attaches the celebration to the Assyrians’ struggle to retain a mountain stronghold being attacked by the Mongols.
According to this narrative, the Assyrians managed to turn imminent defeat into victory when Azo Maron, the wife of the leader, dressed in her bridal finery and together with other Assyrian wives and sisters of the fighters, urged them to persist in the fight in order to defend their women.
The three days of fasting retained by the Church of the East and the Chaldean (Catholic) Church, but not by Protestant Assyrians, commemorate the story preserved in the Old Testament regarding God’s command to Jonah. During this fast, people not only abstain from animal products, but some will also consume only water during daylight hours and not break their fast until after sundown.
Some young men and women use this fast as an occasion to identify their future husband or wife.
Breakfast usually follows the early morning church service, and visitors may be served from the family that year.
At night, prior to going to sleep, each scoops as much from the bowl as can fit on the nail of the thumb of the right hand and places it in his or her mouth.
Friends and family visit and exchange felicitations.
The traditional Christmas breakfast consists of a hearty dish (, q.v.) made with hulled wheat and poultry, cooked slowly overnight and served with a topping of dried, toasted, then crushed coriander seed and melted butter.
The practice of visiting neighbors and friends to offer Easter greetings is integral to the Easter holiday and, when possible, the holiday is celebrated for a full week.
Each town or village is divided into seven sections, and residents of each section remain home on a designated day in order to receive visitors from the other six. The fortieth day after Easter marks the ascension of Jesus into Heaven and is celebrated as a joyous occasion when the Holy Spirit comes to the symbolic bride, the Church.
At the close of the service each member receives a branch of a variety of red willow, which substitutes in northwestern Persia, where almost all Assyrians used to live, for the palm frond of the Biblical story with which Jesus was greeted on entry into Jerusalem. Assyrian Christians attend church from midnight until about one or two in the morning.