India is home to diversity; it is a cultural kaleidoscope of traditions, religions, and practices. To say the least, India is a colourful assortment or medley of sorts. While the Christian community comprises less than 3% of the total population, the holy festivals are not celebrated with any less fervour and revelry. Christmas is the bigger festival, but Easter is also celebrated with much gaiety. We’ve compiled a list of the best places for Easter celebrations in India.
The Significance of Easter
Easter is celebrated to commemorate the rise of Jesus Christ after being crucified on a cross. According to the belief, Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross and died for the sins of men, this day is now acknowledged as Good Friday and considered a day of mourning. On this day people often do not indulge in the revelry of any sort, meat is generally avoided, and some even fast all day.
Three days after his burial, Jesus rose from the dead and this resurrection is now celebrated as Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday. This day is important in Christian theology as it established Jesus as the powerful son of God, prior to which there were several disbelievers, and thus cemented the faith in Christianity.
The date for Easter changes every year and is dependent on when the full moon is after Spring Equinox. The week leading to Easter is celebrated as the Holy Week sand starts with Palm Sunday. Easter will be celebrated on the 1st of April this year.
Places For Best Easter Celebrations in India
While you will find Easter celebrations in all corners of India, these states and cities celebrate it a little more.
A majority of the population in Goa are Christians, hence Easter celebrations are not taken lightly here. People begin with Good Friday, where most of the shops and shacks remain shut, and end with Easter Sunday. It is a spectacular sight to witness, with all the churches in Goa observing it, but the most elaborate festival happens in Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Panjim.
The festival involves a procession where people enact the crucifixion which includes a huge wooden cross and they return back to the church led by the clergymen. Mass is usually followed by an Easter feast and games such as an Easter Egg Hunt.
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This southern state of India celebrates Easter with all its seriousness and keenness as is in the rest of the world. People spend the Holy Week going for mass every day of it, and on Easter, Sunday candles are lit to signify the resurrection of Christ. The rest of the day is spent making merry and rejoicing.
Lent is broken on this day, and after a month of fasting, a huge Easter fest is prepared which includes local delicacies such as appam, meat stew, fried bananas, and Toddy.
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A Christian majority state, Meghalaya starts its celebration with Palm Sunday. Masses are held throughout the week, and the town wears a desolate look on Good Friday.
On Easter Sunday however, the town is up bright and early, and people are dressed at their best on their way to mass since Easter is commonly associated with the onset of Spring, people usually wear light pastel colours or white on this day. The church usually hosts an Easter lunch, with activities such as an Easter Egg hunt held for children.
On Easter, the Catholic church in Kohima, Nagaland, has a vigil which is divided into four parts. The four segments include lighting a candle, inserting grains into the candle to signify the wounds inflicted on Christ.
This is then followed with a procession where the people follow the priest back to the church, which stands to mark the following of Christianity, and lastly, water is blessed which is symbolic of purification and life, and a reminder of baptism, which is the first step into Christianity. The service ends with a distribution of easter eggs to everyone.
5. Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu also sees prominent Easter celebrations. Special churches and masses are conducted throughout the state, and the day typically ends with feasting and merriment. Bakeries in Pondicherry sell many bakery delights which include the traditional Easter treats hot cross buns and Easter eggs with the most intricate designs and full of chocolates.
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Kolkata is well known for their elaborate celebration of Durga Puja, but other festivals are celebrated with much delight here as well, although perhaps with not as much pomp and show. Easter in Kolkata begins with a vigil at St. John’s Evangelist Church, where hymns are sung and candles are lit. A procession is also held in the afternoon from Bishop’s college, the rally is meant to educate people on Easter.
The bakeries in Kolkata, including Flurry’s, also prepare themselves with an array of baked good with the obvious inclusion of hot cross buns and delicious easter eggs!
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The state of Mizoram sings for the revival of Christ. It is common to see choirs here sing sweet gospels every Sunday, but Easter is even more special. The masses here begin from sunrise with a mass and through the day there are sermons and hymns sung. A community feast is held to signify the breaking of the fast, and the state gets together for the festivities of the day.
That’s our list of places to spend your next Easter break at! Easter celebrations always entail also means a good feast, and all the places listed here have some amazing local dishes to relish on. What is your favourite Easter tradition? Do you have fun Easter stories to share? Reply in the comments below!