Solemn religious processions are held in many towns on the Friday or Saturday before Easter and sometimes on Easter Sunday. Many churches have special statues of the Virgin and Jesus that play a big part in the processions. The statues may be paraded through the city or displayed in the main square. Parade participants are often dressed in traditional ancient costumes. Olive branches are often used instead of or along with palm fronds in the processions and to decorate churches.
This was a period of spiritual preparation for Easter which typically involves fasting, penance and prayer. It was originally established by various Christian groups as an interval ranging from a few days to several weeks. It was eventually fixed in the 8th century CE at 40 days. (The number 40 is one of many magical numbers with religious significance in the Bible. 40 days recalls the interval that Jesus, Moses and Elias spent in the desert. Other magical numbers were 3, 7, 12, and 70). Among Roman Catholics, Lent lasts for six and a half weeks before Easter, excluding Sundays. Among the Eastern Orthodox churches, it is a full eight weeks, because Saturdays and Sundays are not included. Easter is one of the main events of the year for the Orthodox Christians and the most important Orthodox holiday. The word “Easter” comes from Greek and means “deliverance”. On this Holy Day we celebrate the deliverance of all mankind from the devil’s bondage through the sacrifice of Christ the Savior and the gift of eternal life and bliss. That is the fundamental sense of the Orthodox religion – God Himself became a man, died for us, and His resurrection redeemed people from the power of death and sin. The Orthodox Church celebrates Easter for more than two thousand years. The apostles of Christ revealed its sense to others and passed the tradition of celebrating to their disciples. So, from generation to generation, the tradition of the Easter celebrations has reached us and spread throughout the...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document