Easter marks a huge moment in the story of Christianity. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a time of celebration, the moment where his powers were validated, as was the faith of those who believed in him and his teachings. It is, in fact, the very foundation of the Christian faith. Easter is broadly considered a festival of renewing hope and life, which is why it is surprising to see that it is not celebrated as widely as Christmas. Despite the presence of a sizeable Christian community, Easter celebrations in India are a relatively small affair. Nevertheless, the beautiful festival is celebrated with much heart and cheer in some places. Here is a look at five places in India where you can witness Easter 2017 celebrations in its truest form. ALSO READ: Festivals and events in India in April 2017 that you cannot miss

Goa

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Goa

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Goa

Goa has a rich Christian culture, with several churches, new and old, that serve a massive community. As you can expect, Easter is a big deal in the beach paradise, with mass and processions organised in every single church. The Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Goa is where the biggest celebration takes place, though, with people crowding the church and its premises, listening to mass and the inspiring sermon. Once the mass is over, the cross is revealed for veneration by the congregation. The cross is then carried by the church’s clergy through the streets of the Goan town, with a crowd in tow and somber music sung to mourn Jesus’ suffering. The procession is a re-enactment of Jesus Christ’s walk to Golgotha for his crucifixion, and it takes place along Panjim’s streets before ending at the church. It is a humbling sight that can fill your heart with sobriety and wonder.

Mumbai

Mount Mary Church, Mumbai

Mount Mary Church, Mumbai

Mumbai typically has more low-key celebrations. Its churches hold mass and prayers to commemorate Easter. This then makes for a great time to visit Mumbai’s iconic churches and offer your prayers. Mount Mary Basilica, or the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount in Bandra is a popular church with a rich history behind it. Bandra also has St Andrew’s Church in Bandstand, while Afghan Church in Colaba and St Thomas Cathedral in Fort make for equally breathtaking visits. If you are more interested in the culinary delights associated with Easter, many of Mumbai’s restaurants, cafes and hotels will offer traditional and unconventional Easter feasts. Malls and other locations will also host Easter parties and other events. ALSO READ: 5 Amazing joints in Mumbai which you must head to this Easter

Aizawl

City on a Hill, Aizawl

City on a Hill, Aizawl

Aizawl, the capital city of Mizoram, has a huge Christian community, with Solomon’s Church, Presbyterian Church and Baptist Church being one of the several that serves the city. It plays host to extensive Easter celebrations, starting with sunrise mass and prayers at every church. In 2016, Salvation Army band parties played the holy hymn “He’s Arisen” across the city on the morning of Easter Sunday. Churches also hold special prayers and worship on that day, and you can find special food items made at several cafes and restaurants across the city. The Seven Sister states of Northeast India have a sizeable Christian populace, and you can find many places in these states celebrating Easter, like Kohima in Nagaland, Tura in Meghalaya and several places in Tripura, Assam and Manipal.

Kochi

Santa Cruz basilica colonial Church in Fort Kochi

Santa Cruz basilica colonial Church in Fort Kochi

The districts of Thrissur, Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam in Kerala celebrate Easter in the most, with Christians thronging to their community churches for offering prayers. Churches conduct services to commemorate the end of Lent and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Easter, you can find a celebrative mood in the city of Kochi and its churches. If you want to catch the morning mass and prayer, you can visit any of Kochi’s famous churches, like Malayattoor Church, St. Alphonsa’s Church and Vallarpadam Church. The streets of Kochi will also be celebrating the rise of Jesus Christ and his ascendance into heaven. Shops will offer Easter goodies and bunnies, while restaurants will offer special Eastern Sunday meals of their own.

Vishakapatnam

Vishakapatnam

The coastline of Vishakapatnam

The port city of Vishakapatnam, or Vizag as it is popularly called, comes alive to celebrate the miracle of Easter. The Anglo-Indian community in this city celebrate Jesus Christ’s return and the renewal of life and its many blessings with dance, music and some really, really tasty food. Community hotspots like Soldierpet and Gyanapuram are particularly good places to visit in this festival, with their festive decorations. Most households will cook their own special grand Easter feasts for the day to celebrate the end of Lent, and you can visit the Sacred Heart Church in Soldierpet, Infant Jesus Church in Seethammadara or St Joseph’s Church in Convent Junction to offer your prayers with the rest of the community. Kids engage in distributing Easter eggs, and an annual Easter Ball is held where community folk come together to sing, dance and celebrate the occasion. And by dance, we mean really dance, like the waltz, jive and foxtrot. ALSO READ: Top 5 restaurants in Mumbai and Delhi to enjoy an Easter Sunday brunch

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