Celebrating Easter in Uganda

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Spending Easter in Uganda?

Much of the festivity it is absolutely religious, just like Christmas, Ugandan Easter if filled with pleasure and celebration.

Nothing to do with the chocolate Easter eggs – ‘am afraid! … but images of Christ on the cross. The mood and feeling is that of atonement – reflecting on the death and coming to life again of Jesus Christ. For Christians, it is a time of celebration – celebrating the life of Jesus and particularly his resurrection.

… But perhaps a time of personal reflection too – trying to find a reconciliation with God – remembering God’s covenant with humankind especially as manifested through the life, suffering and death of Jesus.

Yes, Easter in Uganda is a massive Christian Festival that comes with a holiday mood. There is excitement and celebration … but certainly not like Christmas brings!

For majority of Christians, Easter is preceded by lent – a period of fasting in the Christian calendar, that breaks into fun and merriment through the Easter weekend.

The Friday (Good Friday) before Easter Sunday and the Monday (Easter Monday) after are public holidays in Uganda. The school holidays in Uganda tend to follow the festive season. Schools are closed for 2 to 3 weeks, just in time for the Easter celebrations.

In Uganda Easter falls on different dates each year – same as the rest of the world – I am told; it’s got to do with the first full moon following spring in the northern hemisphere … hmmm! Which means that it’s highly likely that Easter will fall on any Sunday between March 22rd and April 25th. There you have it – I will keep you posted as soon as I spot the full moon …

The Sunday before Easter Sunday is Palm Sunday – a day when Christians remember Jesus’ triumphal reception into Jerusalem. Churches in Uganda will make this a special Sunday – and in many ways, the Easter mood kicks in thereafter.

Palm Sunday includes a procession of the worshipers waving palms as a representation of the palms and tree branches the crowds waved as Jesus rode through Jerusalem. The palm business comes to life just for one day – so that you know!

Call it Ugandan Easter tradition – may be not! Some of the things I remember about Easter are; the Easter cards that you send out to family and friends, The Easter carols – at least my mother always took me to these, and the occasional Easter hymns played on the FM stations as Easter draws near.

… And then of course waking up so early in the morning on Easter Sunday to try to be ready in time for church – which was usually one massive church service for the day. The service was filled with lots of Alleluias with acknowledgement and belief of the resurrection of Jesus.

Back at home, the ladies of the house that didn’t attend church will be putting the final touches to the much anticipated big meal of the day. And at about 2pm, we would all be seated in the dining space to dig in; Eating and drinking to the wee hours of the night – after all the next day is Eater Monday!

Such is celebrating Easter in Uganda – I thought I should share a bit of my personal experience here … and if you are in Uganda over Easter, you certainly will have your own experience. Don’t forget to share it here with us.

Till then, have yourselves a lovely Easter holiday!

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