Holy Week and Sacred Weird Beliefs
Holy Week, or Semana Santa as popularly known in Spain, Philippines or any Hispanic speaking language countries, are famous with their traditions. Holy Week is the last week of Lent, and the week before Easter, where Catholics and other non-Catholic celebrate, and mark the solemn events with their weird but sacred traditions and beliefs and some may consider it as weird cultures.
1) Ash Wednesday
The first day of lent, which is forty-six days before Easter is called the Ash Wednesday, that marks the beginning of the 40 days Liturgical Day of prayer and fasting. The date of Ash Wednesday is movable, and could be in different date of each year and can happen as early as February, or even later in early March.
2) Palm Sunday
3) Palm Sunday in Bulgaria
The Bulgarian Orthodox church celebrate Palm Sunday or Tsvetnitsa Vrabnitsa, as they mark the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. They used willow branches and flowers, instead of palm or olive leaves.
They also celebrate the St. Lazar’s Day or Lazarovden, dedicated to the young girls, farms and woods.
Young girls in Bulgaria wearing traditional costumes, with flowers on their hair, and dance their traditional dance called Lazarki, held on Saturday, one week before Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday is also a day for people with flower name, as their name day like: Zjumbul, Nevena, Temenuzhka and many more.
4) Seville, Spain
The Capuchones, wearing their traditional robes and hoods, they call it Capirote, is a pointed hat of cone-like form. The capirote actually originated from Catholicism, and there where confusion regarding the kuklux klan (is an anti-Catholic White Nationalist Protestant Organization). In Seville, Spain this is the famous celebration during Holy Week.
5) La Mantilla
During Maundy Thursday and sometimes Good Friday, the women in Spain wore this traditional black dress with black shoes, and the mantilla consisting of lace with hard materials or shells to make it stiff, with their holy rosary. They are allowed to used bracelets and earrings. While the male used their black suit , black shoes and black neckties.
6) Holy Thursday and Good Friday in Spain
The Los Picaos de San Vicente de la Sonsierra, is the penance in Christian religion. This practice is only found in the town of San Vicente de la Sonsierra in La Rioja.
7) Various Holy Week Celebration in many towns and cities of Spain:
The Great Lent or the Great Fast, is the fasting and abstinence on Lenten season in Eastern Christianity. Christians prepare the great feast of Great Lent and greatest feast of the Paschal or Easter season. Abstinence from certain foods like meat and other rich foods, self examination of conscience, reform of personal character, repent and restitution of sins and giving of alms to the needy and less fortunate.
9) Passion Plays on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday
10) Paschal celebration
The Paschal greetings is an Easter tradition in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic and Protestant Christians.
Easter Vigil or Paschal Vigil or the Great Vigil of Easter, held in many christian church as the official celebration of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection. Here the American Benedictine priests, make an Easter fire to light the Christ’s candle before they begin with the Easter mass.
11) Holy Week In Finland (credit to www.scuola.alto-adige.it)
In Finland children go out on the street and go from house to another, wishing the house-owner “Virpominen”, meaning good health, prosperity, wealth and youth. They recite it in a rhyme and hand twigs decorated with willow flowers. And in return they received candies, cookies and some coins.
12) Mondas in Talavera de la Reina, Toledo
Children used their national costumes on Easter season.
The Easter egg hunting feast are usually celebrated on Saturday, they believe that Sunday is known as a low Sunday or called the Quasimodo Sunday.
13) Mardi Gras
In the beginning or after Epiphany and reach the highest point on the day before Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras is celebrated, which means “Fat Tuesday” in French. It is an ethnic practice for the English called “Shrove Tuesday”, where they practice the last dinner of eating rich and fatty meals before the fasting period for the Lenten season that begins on Ash Wednesday.
Tenebrae is the service celebrated by the Matins or Orthros or Outrenya, the morning and night prayers in the Roman Catholic, Anglican , Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox Liturgies of the canonical hours. The divine office taking place in the early morning hours, and one of the major hours in the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours, is called the “Lauds”.
15) Good Friday
16) Washing of Feet
17) Easter Sunday
Easter Bell great symbol aspect. On Maundy Thursday all bells should stop ringing, leave the country for Rome where the Holy See is located, and blessed by the Pope. On Easter Sunday, all the bells will be ringing again symbolizing the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the beginning of Spring.
The Easter Lamb or Paschal Lamb in the New Testament, Jesus symbolizes the lamb, as being sacrificial lamb, a belief for both Western and Eastern religion. By the Blood of Jesus Christ, the people of God is free from death and enter into new life. Some countries eat the leg of a lamb on Easter Sunday.
The Easter Bunny is a symbol of wealth, growth and renewed fruitful life, specially when Spring comes. The eggs, chocolates and rabbits are closely related symbols on Easter traditions. Easter bunny are also called “Spring Bunny” or Easter Hare. (www.buzzle.com)
The Easter Chicken was also a famous symbol for Easter and originates from Austria, their belief that chicken is also related to the eggs of Easter.
Easter Eggs are special eggs that in every country represent with their beliefs and tradition. The eggs are decorated; It was actually a pagan symbol of the rebirth of the Earth in celebration of Spring, and was later on adopted by early Christianity as Christ resurrection. The eggs are hidden by “bunnies” and the following morning the children will search for the Easter eggs.
Easter eggs in Russia are sometimes made of wood or empty eggshells (the yolk is blown out, not to break the shell) and paint bright colorful patterns. The eggs are cracked with nails , as symbol of Jesus Christ crucifixion.
In Germany, they “blow out” the eggyolk so not to break the eggshells, paint it and decorate it and make a Christmas tree and decorate with Easter eggs.
In Greece, they color the egg with bloody-red color dye, symbolizing the blood and renewal of Jesus Christ. Then the children crack the red-dyed Easter eggs, which symbolizes Christ breaking out from his tombstone.
The Easter Lily, a Japanese flower, is a symbol of holiness and purity, and also symbolizes the coming of Spring Season. According to folktales, while Jesus was entering a town, all the flower, plants, trees and animals bowed their heads as a symbol of respect, except for the Lily, known to be proud for its beauty. But during the Crucifixion, the Lily saw Jesus nailed on the cross, and the lilies bowed their heads.
Easter Water is no longer practiced today, as an ancient beliefs, that the Easter water should be fetch in the river before the sunrise set in, to bless the homes and protect the family from rough and stormy life in the future and drinking the Easter water can cure all kinds of diseases. (credit to:buzzle.com)
The Easter Cross, is the symbol that relates with Christian’s Easter, and it symbolized salvation, courage and faith. The Easter Cross is also a symbol and reminder of Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross, to redeem us from our sins, and save us. The Cross symbolizes the Roman’s injustice and cruelty to Jesus Christ.
In European countries, they bake and prepare hot cross buns and eat on Good Friday.
18) Easter Faberge Eggs
Faberge Easter egg, is one of the thousand manufactured by the House of Faberge from 1885 to 1917, most famous and expensive Easter gift, given during Easter season. Faberge eggs are made of precious hard stones or metals decorated with special and expensive gems stones.
19)Holy Saturday or Black Saturday
20) Easter in Africa
In Africa, Christians sees Easter as a social and spiritual celebration, and families and the community join together and share the special food, with everybody, Christians and non-Christians alike. Here they share rice; meat is considered the special menu, because it is considered as an expensive food . They don’t practice the Law of Abstinence, as other Catholic does. During Easter vigil, the community gather in the church, with their colorful kangas and vitenge clothes, and sing the Hymns with the beat of drums, and kigelegele, the high-note sounds sang by women. After the mass celebration, they danced the traditional ceremonial dance outside the church, and return home to celebrate Easter in their homes and dine for their local foods and drinks.
Happy Easter to everyone, have a Blessed Easter.