Sunday, April 4, 2010

All set to celebrate Easter today

The Christian community will celebrate Easter all over the world including Pakistan on Sunday (April 4) with great zeal and fervour.
Easter is among the festivals of minorities, which is announced to be celebrated officially by the government of Pakistan providing respect to the religious events of minorities and ensure their maximum representation in official events. 

Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti greeted the Christian community on the occasion, saying “We are determined to give due rights to the deprived segments of the society including minorities and committed to the uplift and empower the minorities.” Easter preaches the message of tolerance, sacrifice, brotherhood, hope and freedom which is a guideline for all of us, he said, adding “It is the time that people of different faiths should become united to defeat destructive elements who want to destabilise our country by their ill designs. We should remove distances and improve tolerance to counter these conspiracies with interfaith harmony and national unity.” 

He said a national campaign to promote interfaith harmony has been launched to counter the trends of extremism and to bridge the gap among different faiths and prayer rooms for minorities will also be constructed for prisoners in all the prisons throughout the country.

In Christianity, Easter marks the end of Lent, a period of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, which begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts 40 days (not counting Sundays).

The week before Easter, known as Holy Week, is very special in the Christian tradition while the Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday and the last three days before Easter are Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday (sometimes referred to as Silent Saturday). Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday respectively commemorate Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem, the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are sometimes referred to as the Easter Triduum (Latin for ‘Three Days’). In some countries, Easter lasts two days, with the second called “Easter Monday.” The week beginning with Easter Sunday is called Easter Week or the Octave of Easter, and each day is prefaced with ‘Easter’.

Many churches in Pakistan start celebrating Easter late in the evening of Holy Saturday at a service called the Easter Vigil.

While the celebrations are usually offered on Easter Sunday including usual order of Sunday services in a congregation, but also typically incorporate more highly festive elements. The music of the service, in particular, often displays a highly festive tone; the incorporation of brass instruments (trumpets, etc.) to supplement a congregation’s usual instrumentation is common. Often a congregation’s worship space is decorated with special banners and flowers (such as Easter lilies) to capture the glory of the holiday.

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