Indian Christians celebrate Easter across the country with prayers, feasts and rejoicing

Christians gather for Dawn Service on Easter Sunday Morning. (Photo: CT India)

Christians across India celebrated Easter, the most important festival commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, with profound religious fervour on Sunday, March 31. The day marked the culmination of Holy Week, a period of prayers and penitence recalling the final phase of Christ's life, from his arrest to his crucifixion and eventual triumph over death through his resurrection.  

As the clock struck midnight, devotees gathered at churches nationwide to offer special prayers, symbolic of the resurrection. One of the renowned churches, the Tenkasi Church in Tamil Nadu, held midnight prayers, a tradition that signifies the triumph of mankind through the resurrection of the Messiah, emphasising themes of renewal, hope, and the victory of light over darkness.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his greetings, expressing hope that the message of renewal and optimism would reverberate across the nation. In a post on X, he stated, "On Easter, we hope that the message of renewal and optimism reverberates all over. May this day inspire us all to come together, fostering unity and peace. Wishing everyone a joyful Easter."

In Mizoram, the celebrations commenced with various church denominations holding sunrise services at dawn, while the Salvation Army performed famous hymns like "He is Risen" with their brass bands. The Presbyterian Church of India (PCI), the largest denomination in the state, held a three-tier service in addition to the Sunrise Service. Congregants listened to sermons from selected Bible verses, and church members adorned the premises with beautiful flowers in memory of their deceased family members, concluding the festivities with tea, cakes, and the inevitable “Easter Eggs.”

Nagaland, another Christian-majority state, witnessed a multitude of believers, irrespective of denomination and age, congregating at the heritage Old DC Bungalow for the sunrise service. Nagaland Governor La Ganesan extended warm greetings, stating, "Easter is celebrated each year around the world with great reverence. On this blessed day, let us celebrate the testament of God's love to humanity and the spirit of forgiveness. May the resurrection of Jesus Christ fill all our hearts with joy, hope and bring abundant blessings to all."

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said, "Jesus' greatest act of love on Good Friday is followed by the greatest act of power on Easter Sunday, which is His resurrection. May the miracle of Easter bring renewed love, hope, and joy in our lives. I wish everyone a Happy and blessed Easter."

Deputy Chief Minister Yanthungo Patton added, "A blessed Easter to all! As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and his triumph over death and sin, let us rejoice in the promise of eternal life through Christ's sacrifice. May this day remind us of the power of love, forgiveness and new beginnings. Wishing everyone peace, joy, and unity!"  

In Goa, Christians attended special prayers at churches and chapels, with some services conducted in Portuguese, in addition to English and Konkani. Processions were held in various parts of the state, and Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai extended greetings, saying "Easter is the ultimate sign and divine symbol of victory over forces of death, darkness and evil. Jesus Christ preached the eternal values of love, compassion, brotherhood, responsibility, and forgiveness. In the present-day-world, afflicted with many man-made evils, the messages of Jesus Christ can help to transform us and guide us to lead a more meaningful, peaceful and happy life."

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said, "Easter is the time to share love and happiness. In the present day, the noble virtues and values embodied by Jesus Christ can give us strength to lead a more meaningful life, promoting human values. Easter reminds us all to follow our conscience and practise what we can do for others in day-to-day life. On this day, let us pledge to strive for the welfare of others and inspire people to empower others. May all of us, living in this beautiful state of Goa, join together in building a new society, wherein the interests of others will reign above all."

Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, witnessed a festive atmosphere as major churches, including St. Peter's Cathedral, St. Paul's Cathedral, and Gundala Matha Shrine, were illuminated for the Easter celebrations. The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Telugu Churches and Christian organisations organised the 14th consecutive 'Run For Jesus' rally on the eve of Easter, with devout participants who observed the 40-day Lent period.

In Kerala, devotees thronged the churches since the small hours to attend midnight or early morning masses and special prayers led by bishops and priests. Ending the 40-day-long Lent season, traditional Christian families prepared sumptuous feasts at home, marking the culmination of Holy Week and the joyous celebration of Christ's resurrection.  

As the day unfolded, churches across India resonated with hymns, prayers, and the exchange of greetings, as the faithful rejoiced in the triumph of Jesus Christ over death, embracing the message of renewal, hope and unity that the Easter season symbolises.