Easter Festivals in Kerala
Easter, the oldest Christian festival, is celebrated in Kerala, with the same enthusiasm and solemnity as in any other part of the world and is held with Easter Sunday sometime between March 22 and April 25. The celebrations commemorate the central tent of Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Easter in Kerala has four distinct periods beginning with Lent, the 40 days of fasting and preparation for the resurrection of Christ. Then comes the Holy Week including the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The third period is the Octave of Easter, when a large number of children are baptized and lastly Easter extending over 40 more days. On Holy Thursday, to celebrate the Lord's supper and the traditional washing of feet is carried out to stress the love for one another. At most Christian homes, the rite of the pashcal bread is carried out. After dinner, the 'cross cake' is brought out, cut into pieces and distributed among each member of the family.
The next day, Good Friday is a day of grief when churches remain empty. Services are held in the afternoon and in most churches a bitter drink made from leaves and vinegar among other things is served to everyone. The next day, Holy Saturday is a day of mourning when no services are held in the churches for the whole day. However, by ten at night, the churches are full to observe the Easter Vigil. In the darkness, a new fire is lit and blessed. A candle is then consecrated and from it, many more candles are lit to indicate the resurrection. The church bells are rung, there is music in the air while the church and surrounding areas are lit. The next day, Sunday is a quiet day ends with a lavish dinner at homes and visit of relatives.
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