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Easter

Easter is the oldest Christian festival, as old as Christianity itself. The Central tenet of Christianity is not the birth of Jesus, but his resurrection. Easter derived from this paschal mystery and from the events of Good Friday. The content of Easter was gradually analysed into historical events and each began to be celebrated on a different day. As a result, Easter grew into a Holy Week and came to have a preparatory season to precede and a festive season to follow. Thus we have four distinct periods in connection with the observance of Easter - 1. Lent, the forty preparatory penitential days. 2. Holy Week including the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 3. the Octave of Easter (classical time for Baptism) and 4. the paschal season or Easter time extending over forty more days. On Holy Thursday the Lord's supper is held in the evening. The washing of feet is a significant event emphasizing love for one another. At home there will be the rite of the paschal bread. After supper, the 'cross cake' is brought out and cut into pieces. A piece is broken, dipped into sauce and handed over to each member of the family in due order. Good Friday is a day of grief when churches are dark. Services are held in the afternoon. In most churches one finds a bitter drink prepared from leaves, vinegar, etc for everyone to taste after the service. Holy Saturday is a day of mourning and wailing. A total silence reigns in the church from morning to dusk. But by ten at night the church is full to observe the Easter Vigil. In the gloom which envelops the church, new fire is struck from flint and blessed. A big candle is then consecrated and from it is lighted many candles indicating the resurrection. Bells peal, music fills the air and light floods the hall. Hallelujah is the joyous word of Easter wish. Easter Sunday is a quiet day and the celebrations rather spiritual and inward rather than social and showy. There will be a grand dinner in the homes and visits from relatives.

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