New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) Christians in the Indian capital celebrated Easter Sunday by attending special mass in churches followed by sumptuous family meals.
Easter marks the end of the period of Lent — observed as a period of piety and abstinence. It follows Good Friday, the day that marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Three days after he died, it is believed that Christ rose from the dead. His resurrection is what is celebrated on Easter Sunday.
Bishops led the services in the capital, and the devout listened to special sermons in various cathedrals and churches of different Christian denominations in the city.
Over 5,000 Catholics attended the midnight mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Reverend Father Maria Susai of the Sacred Heart Cathedral told IANS: “Easter is a celebration, as it is believed to be the defeat of Satan and the rise of Jesus Christ after death. Christ brought peace and harmony to the world.”
People lit candles, sang Easter hymns and offered prayers as part of celebrations to mark the occasion.
“After the special midnight mass, celebrations began at 3 a.m.. It was at the break of dawn that some followers of Christ visited his grave and found his body missing, and realised that he had risen as he had foretold,” explained Binu Joseph, emerging from the morning mass.
Anna Thomas, head nurse at Max Hospital in east Delhi, said Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar, even more important than Christmas.
“Reappearing from death, Christ established victory over death and offered the promise of eternal life,” she said.
Apart from the prayer service at church, Easter is celebrated in all Christian homes with a grand feast.
Diana Omen, a student, said she attended the midnight Easter mass in a church, along with her family. She said friends from college too would be home for the grand Easter meal.
“We got a turkey from INA market, and we will have turkey roast. We also have red wine with a wide variety of meat pies, apple souffle, pancake, and varieties of sausages. My mother has also baked a delicious plum cake,” Omen said.
Exchanging cards and gifts, particularly Easter eggs, form part of the festivities.
Easter eggs, symbolising the resurrection, are not actual eggs but egg-shaped candies or egg-shaped shells filled with caramel toffees and other sweets.
“I went to Wengers, the famous confectionery in Connaught Place. They had a wide range of big and small colourful Easter eggs made of chocolate; there were also plastic eggs available, filled with jellybeans and rabbit-shaped chocolates. I picked up a few for the kids,” Thomas said.