When: Annually, starting between March – May and lasting 50 Days
Where: Celebrated throughout the Christian World – its most holy moment in Jerusalem.
Don’t Bring: Chocolate Easter egg or a bunny
Easter is an ancient festival celebrating life after death and Spring after Winter. Easter Season last for 50 days from Easter Day, ending on the Pentecost. Traditional Easter celebration colours are white, representing the angels, and gold for triumph. The Western Christian Church calculate the date of Easter which varies each year, which falls between March 23 – April 17th. Other branches of Christianity vary, the Orthodox church celebrate their Easter around May.
The best place to witness the faith and celebration of Easter is in the Holy Land of Jerusalem, one of the world’s oldest cities (some 4,000 years) and the most holy site in the world. On Easter Day, Christians of all ethnicity gather in Jerusalem’s Old City to follow in the footsteps of Christ.
Holy Week in Jerusalem
The week is known as Holy Week and begins on Sunday with a gathering on the Mount of Olivesto re-enact Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, where he predicted his own fate to his followers. Monday of Holy Week is the time to visit the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim sacred site and the Jews Wailing Wall. Wednesday is a day to visit the Coenaculum, the place of Christ’s Last Supper, where he administered the first holy communion to his disciples.
Good Friday is a day of epic celebration, with huge crowds gathering along the Ecce Homoarchway, once gateway to the Roman Fortress of Antonia, where Pontius Pilate turned over Jesus to the fickle mob who had turned against him and placed a crown of thorns on his head, mocking him as the “King of the Jews”.
On the Via Dolorosa street, Jesus carried his own crucifix, and now followers carrying modern day crosses, who stop at 14 “Stations of the Cross” commemorating incidents along the way, the last 5 of which are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, reputedly the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.
It is here on Saturday of Holy Week, in a traditional dating back some 800 years, that a Muslim family unlock the church, and on this day only, the Sepulcher, thought to be the Tomb of Jesus is accessible to the public. Holy fire lights the candles, here and across the Christian world, symbolizing the resurrection of Christ.
Check out our Globe Trekker Easter Playlist on YouTube and follow Zay as he explores Nazareth and Galilee, Justine as she visits Guatemala’s Easter celebrations and Christina Chang as she follows the pilgrims in Southern Spain during Semana Santa.
Day By Day Guide to Easter in Jerusalem –
Guide to the events and history behind Holy Week in the world’s oldest city.