If you’re Catholic or were raised Catholic, you know that today is Good Friday, one of the final days of Holy Week.
Good Friday is the day of Jesus’ death, when he was crucified on the cross. Christians believe Easter Sunday is when he rose up from his earthly grave. Easter is the day of life, and Good Friday is the day of death, where, like Ash Wednesday, fasting and abstaining from meat are to be observed. Good Friday and Easter are arguably the two most important days on the church calendar.
Whether or not you practice Holy Week rituals, there is a rich history of cultural traditions surrounding Holy Week and Easter practices – many also have their roots in pagan traditions. It is interesting to examine how we celebrate Easter today and whether we remain inspired by and faithful to ancient traditions, Christian or pagan, or if we take up new ones of our own.
I have rounded up some of my favorite Easter links below!
Much like Christmas, the trappings of the Easter Holiday aren’t Biblical, they are a hodgepodge of Christian, pagan, culture, and circumstance.
Family by family, little groups of people filter into the Christian cemetery in central India to honor and remember their deceased loved ones.
The Russian Easter dish kulich is a tall, sweet bread that is intricately decorated with white frosting and blessed by a priest before consumption.
According to folklore, all the world’s bad spirits were let lose the instant Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. During the 17th century the belief in the devil created witch hunts, and women (mostly) were executed for having participated in the banquet of the devil on Maundy Thursday.
The Seven Sorrows of Mary are a popular Roman Catholic devotion. In common religious Catholic imagery, the Blessed Virgin Mary is portrayed in a sorrowful and lacrimating affect, with seven daggers piercing her heart, often bleeding.
New scents inspired by the holiday from BPAL.
The etching illustrates the theory of Substitutionary atonement, by which Christ voluntarily substitutes himself as a victim, like a whipping boy or scapegoat, for the failings of humanity.