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Easter and Good Friday in Australia
Easter and Good Friday in Australia
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Easter and Good Friday in Australia

Easter and Good Friday are two important dates in the Christian calendar. These days are celebrated to remember the day of resurrection of Jesus Christ after crucifixion. According to the New Testament, Lord Jesus rose from death after crucifixion on the third day after the burial. The occasion marks the belief that Jesus is the ultimate. It marks the pinnacle of “Passion of Christ”. The occasion is preceded by Lent, which is a forty-day fast, prayer and penance. As crucifixion and resurrection are the cardinal event in Christian beliefs, the follower of Christianity observe these days with complete dedication. It is followed throughout the world and Australia is no different. Easter and Good Friday in Australia are marked with all religious customs and tradition.

Religious Significance of Easter Sunday and Good Friday:

The Christians believe that Jesus Christ was crucified on Friday by Pontius Pilate. He was buried in a tomb, but on the following Sunday, his body went missing. It is believed till date that Jesus Christ was brought back to life after his crucifixion on this holy Sunday. To mark his resurrection, Easter or Holy Sundays are celebrated and Good Friday is a day of mourning as Jesus Christ was crucified on this Black Friday. The Easter and Good Friday dates are based on the March equinox and so is celebrated in Australia accordingly.

Ideologies of Orthodox Christians in Australia

Australia is the house of many Greek Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox Christians who retained the Julian calendar after the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in Europe. Due to this they have a different date for Easter and Good Friday when compared to the Western Churches. These dates are known as “movable feasts” as they vary based on calendar calculation. The Orthodox Christians in Australia keep fast on Holy Friday as it a mourning day for them. As the day commemorates the death of Jesus by crucifixion, spring flowers are gathered for the epitaph at Church. Liturgies are organized which is then followed by the procession of the epitaph. Although the day is observed by many, it is not a public holiday in Australia.

Ways of Celebration by Catholic Church

People in Australia celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday in various ways. Good Friday in Australia marks the beginning of four day long holidays. The religious people mark the day by performing various rituals, whereas less religious minded people take advantage of the long weekend and plan holiday trip. Good Friday on one hand symbolizes mourning and Easter is the time to celebrate.

Rituals and Traditions of Good Friday in Australia:
  • Food: Catholic Churches observe Good Friday as the day of fasting as a symbol of mourning. Devotees take only three small meals that too without any meat. Some people replace the meat with fish. There is a tradition of consuming hot cross buns on this auspicious day. The buns are flavored with raisins, currants and spices. They are marked with a cross on the top as a symbol of the crucifixion.
  • Prayers and services: Special services at the churches are held along with long prayer vigils. The day is observed in mourning the death of Jesus Christ.
  • Sporting Events: Many sports events are organised during this four day long holiday and Good Friday marks the beginning of many such events. The most popular is the Three Peaks Race in Tasmania, which is a three-tiered event. Here the members of the team are required to sail down the west coast of Tasmania and then in the running and walking sections two members from each team are supposed to leave the boat and run or walk up and also down the three mountains. Another popular sport event is the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race. Easter Racing Carnival is also equally popular in Sydney.
  • Public Life: Most of the Government and private organisations have holiday on this particular day. Even stores and retail shops are also closed. There is a complete ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday. One can hardly find any public transport in Australia on this particular day. The nation mourns the death of their Lord Jesus.
Celebration of Easter in Australia:

As Easter marks the revival of life, it is the time to celebrate after forty days of Lent. People engage themselves in various activities to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

  • Prayers and Services: The Christians attend the special church services on this day. Even those people who do not attend the mass throughout the year makes it appoint to attend it as the day reflects the main idea in Christianity.
  • Food: Making of pancakes and selling them for raising funds throughout the Easter week and eating hot cross buns is a common tradition. Easter egg is traditionally eaten on the Easter Sunday. These are made from chocolate and resemble an egg. Easter egg hunts for children are a very popular activity on the day of Easter.
  • Easter Bilby: The Easter Bunny of the Western world is replaced by the Bilby as rabbits are considered to be pests in Australia. So the Bilby, which is native to Australia, delivers chocolates and candies in the form of Easter eggs.
  • Fun and Frolic: The various cultural and sports events are held over the weekend. Events like Blessing of the Fleet Festival in Ulladulla, Sydney Royal Easter Show, National Folk Festival in Canberra, and many more attract thousands of people over the Easter weekend.

Due to four day long holidays, the entire country is in the mood of celebration. So the shops as well as transport services take a back seat and like any other Christian country, Australia also celebrates the occasion.

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