For the month of April, our Globe Guide travellers set off to discover how the celebration of the Christian calendar’s most important festival, Easter, varies from country to country, taking in Brazil, Guatemala, Spain, Israel and the Philippines. After that it’s back into the arms of Mother Nature with diving in Micronesia and trekking across Hawaii. For something completely different we end up back in Spain for a celebration of the old enmities of its warring religions.
Across the Christian world, people take part in ceremonies marking Easter – the anniversary of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Merilees Parker journeys to the state of Pernambuco in Brazil to Nova Jerusalem, the world’s biggest outdoor theatre – a third of the size of Jerusalem in Jesus’ time. Every Easter eight days of plays re-enacted by hundreds of actors trace the story of the last days of Christ, culminating in his resurrection.
In Guatemala, Justine Shapiro takes part in the colourful Easter celebrations of Antigua, which hosts 3 days of passion plays and processions.
In Spain, Christina Chang joins the procession in Seville, while Justine Shapiro is in Jerusalem, where the Christian celebrations focus on the retracing the route supposedly taken by Jesus as he carried his cross to the place of crucifixion, along the Via de la Rosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
In the Philippines, Shilpa Mehta witnesses the lengths to which some people go to venerate the crucifixion with a real life re-enactment in which a man is truly nailed to a cross.
For something more relaxing, Megan McCormick finds that April offers perfect conditions for diving among the wreckage of Japanese ships sunk by the Americans in World War II in Chuuk, Micronesia.
Cristina La Monica takes a trek across the virtually untouched island of Molokai in Hawaii taking in vistas of magnificent sea cliffs and ending with a cool dip in the pools of an awesome waterfall.
To end their April dash across the globe, Christina Chang witnesses a celebration of a twelfth battle between the Christians and the Moors in the town of Alcoy, Spain. Unchanged for 700 years, this feast of colour, pageantry and history is an exhausting but enthralling way to close April.
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