The festival of Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. The holiday concludes the ‘Passion of Christ’, a series of events and holidays that begins with Lent, a 40 days period of fasting, prayer and sacrifice. This series ends with the Holy Week, which includes Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Easter 2019 occurs on 21st April; however the dates may differ each year.
History of Easter in India
India is a culturally diverse land and although the origins of Christianity in India are uncertain, some researchers suggest it may have been established by St. Thomas, one of the disciples or apostles of Jesus Christ. The root of Easter celebrations in India was laid during the British rule and progressed through the Portuguese and French rules. Christians all over the country, especially in the cities like Mumbai, Goa and the north- eastern states, make elaborate arrangements for Easter.
In the pre- Independent era, Goa was a Portuguese colony and today is one of the best Easter holiday destinations in India. Devotees throng the churches for religious sermons by the priest and offer prayers. All the churches in Goa conduct the mass and procession but the Panjim church of Mary Immaculate Conception attracts the largest crowd. Churches in India generally hold midnight or sunrise services with the proclamation of the rising of the Lord. After weeks of fasting and abstinence, Easter is a day of joy and celebration.
Easter Traditions in India
According to certain pagan traditions that pre dates Christianity, eggs are a symbol of fertility and birth and thus the concept of egg decorating as a part of Easter signifies the resurrection or rebirth of Jesus. And the concept of rabbits or bunnies comes from various cultures which state rabbits to be as active procreators, so the arrival of baby bunnies in springtime meadows became associated with birth and renewal. Thus, Easter eggs and Easter bunnies form the major traditions of the festival.
However, in India, most people do not indulge in decorating Easter eggs or bunnies instead the festivities are celebrated with delectable cuisine and the exchange of gifts. The exchange of colourful lanterns is one of the traditions of Easter in India.
Due to the diversity in the lifestyle and culture in India, the traditions, rituals and the way of celebration of Easter may vary a little from region to region.