Lent and Easter are an important part of the Christian calendar.
The season of Lent lasts for forty days (not including Sundays). It is a time when Christians reflect and prepare for the celebrations of Easter. Some people fast, eat frugally or give up treats following the example of Jesus, who fasted for forty days in the wilderness. People also give to charity, set aside time to study the bible and meet with other Christians to reflect on Jesus' life and prepare for the events of Holy Week and Easter.
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What is Lent?
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. Ashes made from palm crosses are blessed and are used to make crosses on people's foreheads. The custom dates back to the middle ages. Traditionally on this day we eat pancakes.
Holy Week is the name given to the week beginning on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday. On Palm Sunday Jesus arrived in Jerusalem to crowds and cheers. His triumphant entry into Jerusalem has been celebrated on the Sunday before Easter since the first centuries of Christianity. The crowds waved palm branches and covered his path with them. Churches remember this with crosses made from palm leaves and hold processions like the one that Jesus experienced - sometimes with a donkey, too!
The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—
the King of Israel!”
Maundy Thursday is the day when we remember Jesus sharing the Last Supper with his disciples before his death.
Good Friday is the day when Christians remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It is a sombre day. Usually, churches meet, pray and reflect on the sacrifice Jesus willingly paid for all our sins.
On Easter Sunday, churches across England will celebrate because Jesus died for our sins and then rose again. On the third day after being crucified, Jesus' tomb was found to be empty. He had risen from the dead. Life triumphs over death! The joy of resurrection is possible only because Christ endured death and conquered it.