Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Easter in Shillong

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Joziah Ryan K Lyngdoh observes the practices and rituals of Easter and explores its relevance among people in the present times.

Easter holds great significance for Christians as it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, Jesus died on Good Friday after being crucified on a cross. He was then buried for three days before being resurrected on Easter Sunday.

This event symbolizes Jesus’ sacrifice for humanity, as he freed us (humanity) from the “law of sin and death.” The betrayal of Jesus by Judas led to his arrest by royal soldiers and subsequent sentencing to death by crucifixion. Good Friday marks the day of his crucifixion, while Easter Sunday marks his resurrection after three days.

Different Christian denominations may have varying practices, but the essence remains the same. For instance, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are the only two days of fasting and abstinence mandated by the Catholic Church. Additionally, Catholics are encouraged to abstain from meat on Fridays during the 40-day period of Lent.

Believers choose to fast leading up to Easter as a reflection of Christ’s 40-day fast in the desert before his death and resurrection. Fasting, serves as a sign of repentance and aims to cultivate a spiritual hunger.

Catholic Faith also observe these important days before Easter Sunday which include:

Palm Sunday is a significant day in the Christian calendar as it commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, where he was welcomed by people waving palm branches. This event serves as a reminder for Christians to open their hearts to Jesus and be ready to follow him faithfully.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season, occurring six and a half weeks before Easter. During Mass on this day, Catholics receive ashes on their foreheads in the shape of a cross as a symbol of repentance. However, it is not exclusive to Catholics, as other Christian denominations and even individuals without a religious background may also participate in this tradition.

Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday, is a day in Holy Week that commemorates the Last Supper and the Washing of the Feet by Jesus with his 12 Apostles. This day falls between Holy Wednesday and Good Friday in the Christian calendar.

Good Friday is a solemn Christian holiday that remembers the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum and is known by various names such as Holy Friday, Great Friday, and Black Friday.

Holy Saturday, also referred to as Great and Holy Saturday, is a day of anticipation and reflection in the Christian tradition. It is known by different names such as the Great Sabbath, Hallelujah Saturday, and Easter Eve, leading up to the celebration of Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a joyous occasion that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. This event, described in the New Testament, is celebrated as the culmination of the Easter season and is a central belief in the Christian faith.

Protestant faith beliefs and practices surrounding Good Friday and Easter are rooted in similar core concepts as Catholicism, albeit with some differences. Protestants emphasise that salvation is achieved solely through faith, rather than through actions or sacraments.

This underscores the significance of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection as the ultimate demonstration of God’s compassion and love for humanity, providing a pathway for Christians to reconcile with God.

Good Friday is a somber day of reflection and sorrow for Protestants as they commemorate Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Conversely, Easter Sunday is a day of celebration and joy.

It serves as a special occasion to rejoice in Christ’s triumph over death and the atonement of our sins. Throughout Holy Week, numerous Protestant churches organize unique services and events, including Maundy Thursday services, Good Friday vigils, and Easter morning services.

Unique Observations in Shillong

We witness various faiths gathering for worship and attending church services for sunrise, symbolising the Resurrection of Christ. Evening worship services are also held, featuring sermons by pastors and special performances by the church choir.

It is noticeable that many Christians abstain from consuming meat on Good Friday as a form of sacrifice, commemorating Jesus’ sacrifice for humanity. This includes meat from mammals and poultry, such as beef, pork, chicken, and turkey.

Family gatherings during Easter are a common tradition, involving food preparation, storytelling, and togetherness. Exchanging chocolate-filled or brightly painted eggs with sweets inside is a popular gift-giving practice during Easter. Non-religious Easter traditions may include Easter egg hunts, egg rolling, and egg decorating activities.

Why Is Easter Relevant till date?

“Easter is important today for many reasons: it’s a tradition we celebrate, it has a deep meaning for Christians, and it brings together people from different Christian groups. Easter is all about Jesus rising from the dead, a belief that is timeless and endless. It’s not just a one-day event; it’s beyond our regular understanding of time.

Like Jesus, Easter is eternal and limitless. During Easter, we celebrate the victory of life over death through Jesus Christ. It’s a time of renewal and hope, reminding Christians that life conquers death. This celebration isn’t limited to one place or one group of people; it’s a global event that unites countries around the world. Easter isn’t just about remembering something that happened a long time ago.

It’s also about looking forward to the future when Christians believe Jesus will return. This belief gives hope and comfort to many people. Easter brings communities together, especially through church services and gatherings. It’s a time when people feel a strong connection to each other and their shared history.

This sense of togetherness is important for many people, helping them feel part of something bigger than themselves. Throughout history, Easter has held spiritual significance for people. This meaning has been passed down through generations and continues to be important today. It’s a reminder of the enduring power of faith and belief.

In simple terms, Easter is a special time when we remember that Jesus came back to life after dying. This gives hope to people worldwide, and it brings us together as a community. It’s a time to celebrate life and to be grateful for the things we have. Easter is not just about chocolate eggs and bunnies; it’s about something much deeper. It’s about the belief that death is not the end but a new beginning.

This belief has been shared by Christians for centuries and continues to inspire people today. So, whether you celebrate Easter for its cultural traditions, its religious significance, or simply as a time to be with loved ones, it’s a day that brings people together. It’s a reminder of the hope and renewal that comes from believing in something greater than ourselves. And ultimately, it’s a celebration of life, love, and the power of faith.” Ebenezer Myrthong

“Easter is relevant till today because it is the religious beliefs of Christians and it also reminds us about the journey that Jesus died for us and the cross and on the third day he rose again from the dead.” – Delicia Venora Lyngdoh

“Easter holds immense significance for Christians as it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who sacrificed himself on the cross for our sins and emerged from the dead after three days.” Mewan Aldo Ranee

“As Christians we celebrate Easter to remember the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ who was crucified for our sins, he rose from the dead on the third day and won over the dead.” Anonymous

“We firmly hold the belief in the resurrection of Christ, who sacrificed himself on the cross to absolve us of our sins.” Ibiangmidaka Kharbithai

“Easter is still relevant till date as it represents the resurrection of Jesus Chris. It also represents the defeat of death and the hope of Salvation .” – A.M & A.K

“To remember the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ” – Anonymous

(Church photos contributed by Nancy BBB Kharkongor)

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