India - Easter

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)


Easter is an important festival for Christians. On this day Jesus Christ rose from the dead and rose to heaven. Jesus Christ was crucified on Good Friday and resurrected on Easter. On this occasion Christians offer prayers and services in the Churches. Easter eggs and Easter bunnies are a major attraction during Easter, the festival of transformation of life and living.

On Good Friday, a cross, symbolic of the one on which Jesus was crucified, is uncovered in many churches. It is believed that Jesus rose from his grave on the following Sunday, which is celebrated as Easter. The rituals for Good Friday begin on the former Thursday. A feast signifying the last evening meal of Christ is held on Thursday night. The end of this meal marks the beginning of the fast for Easter.

There is usually a midnight gathering on Easter. Sometimes, for the sake of convenience, there is a gathering early in the morning, too. Easter marks the conclusion of the Lent period, and the fast is broken on this day. Christians go to the church for the Holy Communion and then break the fast. After this, they greet each other, wishing each other 'Happy Easter'. At home, wine is an essential addition for lunch. The evening is set aside for get-togethers of family and friends, and dinner is a large elaborate feast. The gifting of the chocolate-crusted Easter egg to children at home is a ritual that is widely followed. The use of elaborate Easter baskets came later as the tradition of the Easter bunny spread far and wide.

On this day, the special celebrations involve an egg hunt where the eggs crusted with chocolate are kept with lots of other eggs and finding the chocolate covered ones is regarded as winning the game. Another important part of the Easter celebration is the bunny, which is regarded as the symbol of fertility and therefore considered very fortunate. Children have special fun games that are organized by various groups and institutions.

Though Easter does not have the kind of cross-religious involvement that Christmas does it is celebrated all over the country, especially in Christian homes. In Mumbai, Goa and the Northeastern states the festivities are highly structured. The churches with their special prayers and decorations attract all.


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