Easter Holidays in Africa are shrouded in an undying culture of systematic celebrations spewing in both rural and urban settings.
There are several intriguing things you should know when it comes to Easter in Africa because it is just more than you hear or even imagine. In Africa, Easter brings decades of a religiously held culture with the church being at the centre of it all.
Dating back to history, Easter holds a special place in the hearts of Christians, more so the Catholics where the genesis of Easter began centuries ago. In the African Christian setting, the lent period which is 40 days before Easter prepares Christians for the ‘crucifixion, death and resurrection” of Jesus.
A fasting tradition is upheld – though not many people fast as they did decades ago before Easter – and Good Friday takes all Christians to church for a special service where they commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus. This a time many people use to reflect on their deeds and make amends on where they may have erred.
A week before Easter, Christians in African commemorate the day in a special way through “Palm Sunday” often having processions in the environs around the Church. It borrows heavily from the Biblical teachings of when Jesus rode on a donkey’s back to Jerusalem from Mount of Olives in the popular teachings referred to as “The Messiah Donkey”.On his way to Jerusalem atop a donkey’s back, a crowd cheered him on and with palms, some waving them while others laid them down on the ground for the donkey to step on. This signified respect and fulfilment of the gospel that the Son of God would enter the gates of Jerusalem in humble ways that no man would ever imagine of.
Good Friday services signified the death of Jesus as the scriptures have it. They reflect on his death and the lessons that this brings in life. After this, each of them leaves to have time with family and on Sunday, they go back to church to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Donned in black signifying a loss of life on Good Friday, the church sets the mood for mourning and repentance and on Sunday, it is an all-white affair as people dazzle and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Black and white are synonymous with the darkness that came with the death of Jesus while white signifies the celebration of his resurrection.
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This has been a longstanding tradition in the African culture and not even Westernization which has eroded most of the continents’ traditions has been able to change this.
Over and beyond the confines of the church, Easter Holidays in Africa create an opportune time for people to hang out together, for families to share meals and enjoy each other’s company. It is a time when children working in the cities and far from home travel back home to have time with their parents and other relatives living upcountry.
Great meals are prepared to celebrate Easter. It is usually another kind of Christmas where people slaughter goats, chicken, turkey, rabbits and cows to celebrate. It is also a time that many people share in accordance with biblical teachings of being mindful about your neighbour’s well-being.
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People donate foodstuff, clothes and other things to the needy in society. Among them are widows, orphans, the ill and the underprivileged.In many past years, beaches are commonplace to while away time for families and loved on over the Easter Holidays. Although this may have scaled-down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, travel remains on top of the list.
All in all, Easter in Africa is time to reflect, align your deeds closer to God’s will and enjoy the break as much as you can by visiting family or travelling.