Millions of Christians around the world celebrated Easter Sunday on April 9. The holiest day in the Christian calendar, Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Every Christian country has many and different ways and rituals of observing the Holy Week starting on Palm Sunday which celebrates Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem. Worshippers carry palm fronds and olive branches to church before the Palm Sunday service as they reenact how the early Christians welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem.
The majority of Christians celebrate Easter by going to church, singing worship songs and listening to the Easter Sunday service. This is followed by a gathering with friends and families for brunch or dinner.
A decades-old tradition held in Washington, DC is the interdenominational Easter Sunrise Service, which is now in its 43rd year. Hosted by National Community Church, it draws thousands of people at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians from different parts of the country come to DC to attend the service. They sing worship songs, celebrate and patiently wait as the sun rises.
“If you think Washington’s Cherry Blossom Festival is unforgettable, just wait until you see the sun rise over the National Mall and hear thousands of people singing together. Come early,” said organizer Heather Zempel. “While the 1700 chairs fill up fast, there is plenty of room for everyone on the Memorial steps and on the lawn. The morning can start out on the chilly side, so be sure to dress warmly and bring a blanket.”
Meanwhile, despite the tension surrounding Jerusalem, thousands of the Christian faithful travelled to the revered city to visit holy sites. Number one on the pilgrims’s list is visiting the Church of the Sepulchre, the traditional site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Christians packed the Church on Easter Sunday to hear Mass, according to South China Morning Post.
“(I had) some doubt, taking into consideration recent events, but still I decided to go,” said 50-year-old Paulius Majauskas from Lithuania.
In Spain, part of their celebration of Easter Sunday is the Burning of the Judas. Residents in a town in the central city of Aranda de Duero burned effigies of Judas and other famous figures, including politicians, who have wronged people in the past year, reports Spanish news agency, EFE.
“Judas was a traitor and that’s why he deserved this ending, and we also want to burn this year’s bad on Easter Sunday to make way for better things,” councilor Carmen Ovejas said.
The Burning of the Judas is a common tradition in Latin American countries. The practice involves stringing up an effigy representing Judas Iscariot, the Apostle who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, and burning or exploding it.
Easter Sunday marks the end of the Holy Week, the church’s most solemn week for prayer, fasting and reflection.