A scene from Kochi on Palm Sunday | Photo: AP
Thiruvananthapuram: After two years of Covid pandemic which brought normal life to a grinding halt, churches across Kerala appear to be back to normal, with most of them overflowing with devotees ahead of Easter Sunday.
According to the Census, of the 33.4 million population, 61.41 lakhs(29.94 lakhs males and 31.47 lakhs females) are Christians in the state.
Of these, the Catholics constitute around 50 per cent, followed by almost a dozen churches practising varied rituals which differ from each other slightly.
Passion Week or Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, that was observed last Sunday and the next important day is Maundy Thursday and it signifies the Washing of the Feet and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles, as described in the canonical gospels. It is the fifth day of Holy Week, preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday.
Maundy Thursday rituals took place in most Churches across the state when priests and bishops were seen washing the feet of devotees.
Devouts Christians observe a lent of a maximum of 50 days, when meat and fish are kept away from the daily menu. Some even avoid milk and milk products.
But the feature of the Passion Week is starting Thursday, many skip non-vegetarian dishes and on Good Friday churches are crowded and the most important event is the drinking of the Kanji (rice gruel, with pickle and a serving of pulses) from earthen pots.
Eighty-five-year-old Elssama Joseph is in high spirits as this is the first time after 2019, she could take part in the Passion Week rituals.
"The last two years were tough due to Covid and even though there were online service for the Holy Week, the feeling of fullness of attending the church was missing. This time so far I have had a very good time and was fully engrossed in our church and now I am preparing to attend the Good Friday service, which is a pretty long affair and it begins from 8 a.m. and by the time we drink the Kanji it would be close to 3 p.m. and then comes the Easter Sunday service. I am really happy," said the elderly lady.