The season of Easter | Sunday Observer

The season of Easter

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday falls in March or February but the date changes every year. It marks the start of a 40-day holy season (excluding Sundays) for Christians which ends at Easter. On Ash Wednesday they go to Church and the priest applies ash in the sign of the cross on their forehead. The cross symbolises the dust from which God made man, the 40-days Jesus Christ spent in the wilderness, repenting for the sins of man.

The ash used to make the sign of the cross is from the burning of the palms used in the previous year’s Palm Sunday.

Lent

Lent is a holy season for Christians to prepare for Easter. Fasting, prayer, meditation and sacrifice plays an important role this season. For instance as a sacrifice people refrain from eating meat, sweets or taking liquor during Lent. Churches have special services during this period. The forty days is because it is the same number of days that Jesus Christ spent in the wilderness.

In the Catholic Church, Lent ends at the ninth hour on Maundy Thursday, and in the Anglican Church it ends on Holy Thursday.

The word Lent is a short form of the old English word lencten meaning spring.

Holy Saturday

Some churches celebrate the Easter Sunday Service on Holy Saturday night.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday or Easter Day is the most important day of the year for Christians. On this day, Jesus rose from the dead and went to heaven. This is also called the Resurrection and Easter Sunday is also called Resurrection Sunday.

Easter eggs are hidden for children to find on Easter Sunday. Hot cross buns and Simnel cake are popular Easter food. Hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday and Simnel cake on Easter Sunday.

Good Friday

Good Friday is the day in the Holy Week when Jesus Christ was crucified and nailed to a cross. Jesus was ridiculed and beaten because he said that he was God’s son. He was condemned to wear a crown of thorns. He had to carry the heavy cross on which he was crucified in Mount of Calvary also known as Golgotha or the place of the skull. Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry the cross.

He was nailed to the cross and two thieves were crucified on either side of him. Towards the end, Jesus asked: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’, and before his death he cried: ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!’.

Darkness fell across the land when Jesus died.

Holy Week

Holy week begins with Palm Sunday.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is the day in the Holy Week and the Last Supper was on this day when Jesus had his meal with his 12 disciples. He shared the bread and wine with them. He said the bread was His body broken for them and the wine was His blood shed for them. He told them that he would die and that when they share the bread and wine they should remember him.

He also washed the feet of his disciples. It was at this Last Supper that Jesus also said that he will be betrayed by one of the disciples and another will deny him three times before the cock crows. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and Peter denied him thrice before the cock crowed.

After the meal was over, Jesus prayed alone and went to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was later on this night that Judas betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday falls on the last Sunday in Lent which is the Sunday before Easter. It also marks the beginning of the Holy Week.

It was on Palm Sunday that Jesus made his truimphal entry into Jerusalem.

Jesus and his followers neared Jerusalem and came to a place called Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, and Jesus sent two disciples to the village. He told them to go the village ahead and to bring a donkey and her colt which will be tied there to him.

The disciples did as Jesus asked them and they brought the donkey and the colt. Cloaks were put on them for Jesus to sit. Some people in the crowd spread their cloaks on the road while others cut branches from trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Jesus Christ and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest!”

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, people asked, “Who is this?” The crowds said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

 

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