Kerala Christians readying for Easter (Kerala Newsletter)

Thiruvananthapuram, March 22 (IANS) With Easter Sunday fast approaching, it’s a mixed bag for Christians as most of them will be in a pensive mood starting Palm Sunday till Easter Sunday, when things brighten up.

Easter Sunday is in this month after a long time, while Palm Sunday is on March 24.
Most Christians usually change their regular routine in the entire week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday (otherwise known as passion week) with many turning vegetarians.
“Earlier, the 40-day Lent was strictly observed in letter and spirit with the most devout Christians turning vegetarian and even avoiding milk, curd and egg. But of late, only a small number of Christians turn vegetarian during the week,” said 81-year-old Susan Jacob, a retired teacher in Kottayam.
Most Churches have started getting ready for the passion week when they distribute palm leaves on Palm Sunday to the faithful.
The palm leaves commemorate Jesus Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, when palm branches were placed in his path, before his arrest and crucifixion on Good Friday.
Districts in central Kerala are home to a large number of Christians, who comprise 22 percent of the state’s 32 million population. Catholic Christians are the dominant group, comprising 50 percent followed by the Orthodox Church with a population of around 2.5 million. Jacobites, Mar Thoma, the Church of South India and the Pentecostal churches make up the rest.
Churches are crowded on Palm Sunday as even the not so regular church-goers participate in the service.
Even as many Christian homes turn more religious during the passion week with daily visits to churches and regular prayers at home, womenfolk ensure that all arrangements for Easter Sunday are ready.
“Even though while the religious aspects associated with Easter have dimmed, the culinary delights have not. Hence the men folk are very particular about what they want on Easter Sunday breakfast and lunch,” said Gracy John, whose four grandchildren are coming to Kerala from the Middle East.
In many homes, celebrations have begun with people ordering meat and fish and stocking up liquor.
“In our home, not many eyebrows are raised when the family sits together to have a drink,” said Abraham Kurian, an IT professional.
(Sanu George can be contacted at [email protected])