HYDERABAD : It’s that time of the year again when followers of Christian faith in the city will celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on Sunday. Just like last year, the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a spanner in the celebrations with number of positive cases rising every day. However, it has not dulled the spirit of worshippers who are happy to attend the virtual services from home and share a meal with their families.
Talking about the services being held over the Holy Week, Father MM Kennedy from St Francis Xavier Church in Yapral, says: “Our services are being held both physically and virtually. We are following government restrictions and allowing only a certain number of worshippers inside the church so as to follow physical distancing. We have open grounds outside the church and that makes the process easier. We had the morning service which reminds us of Jesus instituting the Eucharist and priesthood.
Besides these, we carry out the ritual of washing feet which symbolises work of the Lord as service to the people. Today, on Good Friday, we remember the passion and death of our Lord, and we marked the Way of The Cross (14 stations) by taking all safety precautions. During the evening, we will follow Veneration of The Cross. On Saturday, at around 10 pm, we will hold the night Easter vigil which marks the Resurrection of Jesus.”
Roydin Roach, who is the Telangana president of the All India Catholic Union, says: “In Hyderabad, we saw a large number of people offering prayers on Good Friday while taking Covid-19 precautions. Many parishes are broadcasting their services online through their own YouTube channels or Facebook Live feature. Liturgy TV, Catholic Hub and Divyavani TV are a few of the channels which telecast all services, in Hindi and English, live from city churches. We saw tableau and plays enacted across churches on Good Friday. At a few places, only the actors were allowed on the church grounds, while worshippers watched them from home. The night Easter Vigil, which can go on till 1:30 am, is the most important service of Easter. It involves rituals like lighting the candles and sprinkling of holy water.”
Easter is also the time of feasting for those who have been observing Lent fast for 40 days. Talking about the different dishes that are prepared during the fasting period and its culmination, Jacqueline Nicholas from Jackie’s Patisserie & Cafe says: “My chicken roasts sell like hot cakes on Easter. Many followers do not eat meat during the 40-day period. The fasting ends after the Easter night service and people celebrate with chicken roasts along with grilled vegetables and Easter eggs. We have the tradition of eating hot cross buns and Kanji rice with various chutneys on Good Friday. The dish, to which no tadka is added, is prepared with rice, roasted moong dal and grated coconut. I made groundnut, onion and coconut chutneys to go with Kanji this year.”
Sujatha Stephen, who is a nutritionist with Yashodha Hospital, says that Easter is an auspicious festival for her family. Describing a typical Easter day at her home, she says: “We start preparations for Easter after Good Friday. Due to the pandemic, we are not attending the early morning service at church and will be part of it virtually. In the pre-pandemic days, I used to go to St George’s Church. We would decorate the church with jasmine flowers. After the service, we would be offered Easter eggs which were boiled eggs with coloured shells. At home, we eat chocolate Easter eggs, cakes and a special meal. We marinate turkey in the morning and grill it to perfection. Later, at a lunch attended by friends and family, we serve it with either coconut rice or chicken biryani.”
— Kakoli Mukherjee firstname.lastname@example.org @KakoliMukherje2