What can a visitor attend or do while in the Holy Land for Easter? Travelujah has a series of articles to assist you in organizing your Easter pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
The Holy Fire Ceremony: Easter Week’s Big Event for Orthodox Christians
There is one day a year when Jerusalem’s Old City is teeming with so many people that anyone happening upon the city unawares would wonder what is happening. Saturday of Light, or Sapt il-Noor, is the celebration of the holy fire. The event occurs the day before Easter Sunday and continues a centuries old tradition beckoning pilgrims from all around the world to the city, the very sight where the first Jesus rose again.
Easter Easting in Jerusalem
As is customary throughout the world, feasting is as much a part of Easter as the services and ceremonies. It is no different in Jerusalem where dining out or having a big family meal at home will be on the menu for local and foreign Christians alike. After Palm Sunday, bakeries in the Christian Quarter will become abundant with Easter treats, however, anything baked or eaten up until Easter adheres to the Lenten fast. Lenten fasting is taken very seriously in this part of the world: The baked products are exclusive of animal products so no eggs are used.
Easter at the Garden Tomb, a Reflective Prayerful Moment
Whereas the Jerusalem Easter service for Catholics and Orthodox Christians takes place at the Holy Sepulchre church, Easter services for Protestants are held at the place revered by them as the site where Jesus died and rose again, the Garden Tomb.
The layout of the Garden Tomb is designed for people to be able to sit and pray quietly while viewing what is believed to be Skull Hill, Golgotha, and the tomb where Jesus may have been laid.
Armenian Easter Brings Tradition to the Forefront
In the West, Easter is usually a simple one-day affair. The different denominations in Israel, however, each celebrate Easter in their own special way and, particularly in Jerusalem, where a high concentration of Christians gathers, a variety of different ceremonies unfolds. So how does the oldest Christian community in Jerusalem celebrate Easter? With their own Quarter in the Old City, the Armenians boast a history in Jerusalem dating back to the 4th century.
Easter Preparations Underway in Jerusalem
It is the season of Lent, the 40 days of fasting leading up to Easter, and Israel’s Christian community is bustling with Easter preparations from the spiritual to the culinary. Jerusalem, of course, is central to the Easter story. Within the next month, thousands of pilgrims will converge in Jerusalem, where Jesus died and rose again. The Catholic and Orthodox Easters coincide this year and come during the Jewish Passover. Catholics and Orthodox Christians use different calendars to determine the dates of their feasts. Easter is the most significant holiday for Christians in the Holy Land, even more of a draw than Christmas.
For more information on Easter in the Holy Land including Holy Land tours, day tours or private tours, contact us.