| Devotees offer prayers before the statue of Jesus Christ on the occasion of Easter at Catholic Church in Patna on Sunday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
For 40 days, Roma Sah stayed away from tasty non-vegetarian food but on Sunday, the 14-year-old asked her mother to cook her favourite chicken korma as she enjoyed Easter celebrations.
“I have asked my mother to make chicken korma and fish cutlet for lunch on Easter Sunday,” said Roma, a Class X student of Notre Dame Academy. “I love non-vegetarian food. But for the past 40 days, I have not been able to enjoy anything because of Lent. Now, I will have fun with my friends and family.”
Lent is a period of roughly six weeks, during which devout Christians fast and abstain from self-indulgence, culminating in Good Friday, which is observed in remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Explaining the ritual, Pooja Ann, vice-principal, Jesus and Mary Academy in Patna City, said: “The period starts in February with devotees mourning the sacrifice of Christ. According to the Bible, Jesus, too, fasted for 40 days before his crucifixion. While some fast completely, others abstain from good food or comforts.”
The abstinence ends on Easter Sunday, when the Resurrection or rebirth of Christ is celebrated. Father Robert Atthickal of non-government organisation Tarumitra said: “Easter is all about celebration because Jesus Christ rose from death for us.”
On Sunday, residents thronged the churches in the city to take part in Mass throughout the day. Readings from the Bible and popular hymns and songs were also performed.
A ritual that has come to symbolise Easter to Christians and non-Christians alike is the gifting of decorated eggs.
According to some sources, early Christians in the Middle East used eggs — a symbol of fertility — to represent the empty tomb of Jesus.
While the shell of an egg looks like a stone tomb, it is also the source of new life. To begin with, eggs were only dyed red to symbolise the blood of Christ sacrificed at the cross.
But over the years, Easter eggs are beautifully decorated with colours and designs and presented as gifts of friendship, love and good wishes.
Coloured eggs are not the only ones that do the rounds in Easter though. The ones made of chocolate are a especial favourite among all and sundry.
Gerald Paul, the younger brother of Roma, said: “I love eggs made of chocolate filled in them. I can polish off five such eggs at one go. I have asked my mother to give me a plateful of chocolate Easter eggs today (Sunday).”
Besides indulging in gastronomic delights, residents also spent quality time with friends and family.
“This is the time when my cousins come to my house and we have great fun together,” said Jason Paul, a Class IX student of St Xavier’s High School.