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Easter

Good Friday is a spring festival and as the name suggests always comes on a Friday. It is observed to commemorate the crucifixion leading to the death of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church observes Good Friday as a day of fasting. On the following Sunday Jesus rose from the dead and this is known as resurrection which is celebrated as Easter Sunday. This is a day of feasting. 

A 40 day period just before Good Friday is Lent which is a time when the Christians remember the 40 days and nights Jesus spent alone in the desert without food but being tempted by the Devil. Jesus used this time to fast and pray for the good of mankind.

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and lasts for six and a half weeks. Sundays are however exempted from this. In the past people observed it strictly when people gave up all rich foods. The Christian church no longer imposes a strict fast. Some Christians try to overcome their own faults because they believe that it was man's sin which led Jesus to be crucified. While some others try to follow the example of Jesus in the desert by giving up luxuries and practicing self-discipline. They spend more time in prayers and religious acts so that they can really let God into their lives.

In most places the favourite food during Easter is chocolate, which come in various shapes and sizes.

A lot of Christian families give up meat and other special foods during Lent. Some even give up their recreational activities too. The money saved from giving up these luxuries is put aside in a little box or Earthen pot to be offered on Easter Day at the local church or to distribute among poor.

Easter Hot Cross Buns
The feast laid on Easter Sundays takes on multi hues and tastes. Scrumptious food, lovingly cooked by the womenfolk adorn the table. Easter Egg, Easter Lamb and Easter Cake or Bread are typical Easter specialities. And the most popular English Easter bread is the Easter Hot Cross Bun. Generally, the Easter Hot Cross Buns are enjoyed on Good Friday. As the Easter Sunday and the celebration usher in a new life, so also the Easter Hot Cross Buns send across a message. In fact, the pastry on the top of the buns symbolizes and reminds us of the Cross, on which Lord Jesus was crucified.

Celebrate Easter with religious fervour and feasting

On Good Friday most Christians fast. Liturgical services are held in the church which start at noon and continue for the next three hours, i.e., till 3 pm when Jesus is believed to have died on the Cross. The festival of Easter starts on Palm Sunday and ends with Easter Sunday, which comes two days after Good Friday.

Christians all over, especially in Mumbai, Goa and the North eastern states, make elaborate arrangements for Easter festivities. Easter eggs and Easter bunnies are much in demand as gifts.

Colourful lanterns and replicas of the Holy Cross are exchanged between friends and relatives.

On Good Friday Bible is read so as to spread the message that the way to conquer Evil is through Good and that Violence can be overcome through Non Violence and that one should not hate but Love everyone.

You might come across many Christians wearing black clothes as black is the colour of mourning. Some even tell and act out the whole Crucifixion and Burial of Jesus Christ. Many Churches cover the Cross and Altar with black. In many Churches you will see a wooden Cross and people not only offer prayers but also kiss it for blessings. In some churches one gets to notice that candles are not lit. In some others, the candles are lit but they are extinguished one after the other and the last candle is put off to mark the time of Jesus Christ’s death. Also on Good Friday the church bells are not rung. But hymns are sung and quotes and verses from the Bible are recited.

Easter Sunday
In India Easter Sunday, coming two days after Good Friday, is celebrated with a lot of fanfare and religious fervour, just like any other festival in our country. The celebrations in Mumbai, Goa and North Eastern states are more elaborate. If you feel like getting the exact experience of the Easter, then Goa is the ideal place to go to. The Goans sing songs, dance and once the prayer services are over, friends and relatives exchange the Holy Cross. Easter is celebrated as it symbolizes new beginnings and the joy of the spring harvest season. So go ahead, have lots of fun, enjoy the delicious food and this wonderful festival.

What are Easter Eggs
The egg, as all the nutritionists too will confirm, is the nature’s perfect food. And during Easter it is the universal symbol of Easter celebrations throughout the world. It is dyed, painted, adorned and embellished in celebration of its special symbolism. With the advent of Christianity the symbolism of the egg changed to represent, not just nature’s rebirth, but the rebirth of all humankind. Christians likened it to the tomb from which Christ rose. Ornamental egg designers believe in the symbolism of the egg and decorate it beautifully. Some use flowers and leaves from greeting cards, tiny cherubs, jewels and elegant fabrics, braids and trims. They are separated, delicately hinged and glued with epoxy and transparent cement and then when completed, they are covered with a glossy resin finish.

....and Easter Bunny
The roots of Easter bunny can be traced back to pre-Christian fertility lore. The Easter Bunny is a rabbit-spirit and it signifies new life and rebirth. Years ago, Easter bunny was known as “Easter hare”. Hares and rabbits are known to have multiple births, so they became a symbol of fertility and birth. And that is what the spring time too stands for - renewal and regeneration of flora and fauna. According to history Easter bunny originated in Germany as they were first mentioned in German writings as far back as in the 1500’s. According to a German legend, a white hare would leave Easter baskets filled with candies, brightly coloured eggs and other goodies for kids to come and gorge on them on Easter morning. The German settlers, when they moved to US, popularized the tradition of the Easter hare. And as the days passed, the Easter hare became the Easter bunny. It was in the 1800’s that the bunnies were popularized as confectioneries. They were made from pastry and sugar. 

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