Easter (April 20, 2003) --- Lent, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday (or Maundy Thursday), Good Friday, Holy Saturday*, and Easter Sunday* (20030417; added: 050321)

Lent is considered the forty days, not counting Sundays, before Easter. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter). For Catholics, Lent is a time of fasting, prayer, and reflecting on the life of Jesus. During this time, meat should not be eaten on Fridays. This is a symbol of remembering the suffering Jesus.  Note: During Lent, fish can be eaten on Fridays but other meat should not be eaten. Some restaurants serve fish or clam chowder on Fridays.  This may be related to the fact that many Catholics are not eating meat on these Fridays.

On Ash Wednesday+, Catholics are expected to attend church. During the service, the priest will use ashes (made from the previous year’s blessed palm) to make the mark of the cross on everyone’s forehead.

On Palm Sunday we celebrate Jesus’ entering
Jerusalem where crowds worshipped him by laying down palm leaves (Photos) before him. In church, the priest will bless palm and give it to those at mass. Since this palm is blessed, it should never be discarded. This palm may be burned when it gets old and dry and then discarded. It can then be replaced by next year’s palm.

Holy Thursday (or Maundy Thursday++) marks the day that Jesus had his Last Supper with his disciples.

On Good Friday, Jesus was crucified and buried.

Easter Sunday* celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. This day and Christmas are considered the most important days in the church. The church will be the most heavily decorated on these days. These two days are also when the most people will attend mass. Many people, who do not go to church on any other Sunday, will show up at church on Christmas and Easter. You should plan to get to the church early on these days or you may have to stand all mass.  

Easter used to be an annual pagan festival to celebrate Spring's return.  In addition, Easter used to be written Eastre, the goddess of offspring and of springtime. The Easter bunny stems from fertility and the Easter egg means re-birth; it looks like both are relating to the pagan festival. Christians gradually converted the festival of Easter into a Christian holiday.  Details**     

Easter foods: ham, mashed potatoes, other vegetables, rolls, pies, and colored hard boiled eggs are common

Keywords: Lent, Ash Wednesday (March 5, 2003), Palm Sunday (April 13), Holy Thursday (April 17), Good Friday (April 18), Holy Saturday (April 19), Easter Sunday (April 20)  

Note: We
wrote a short article on Lent and Easter. It is how the Catholic church views it, but we think most Christen religions see it about the same.  Also, we added a very short note on the pagan festival.

+ 1204 130212  Feb. 13, 2013 Wed. Ash Wednesday     You Tube   Ash Wednesday: Pope dedicates audience to Lent  |  Ash Wednesday 

++  Maundy Thursday: see < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maundy_Thursday >

*) Easter (or Easter Sunday) is the first Sun. after the date of the first full moon that occurs on or after March 21.  The full moon for this year is April 16 and Easter Sunday will be April 20, Sun. 
Holy Saturday is the Sat. before Easter.

**) < http://www.pastrywiz.com/letseat/easter.htm > < http://wilstar.net/holidays/easter.htm  >

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