In order to paint a picture of what Easter means to different people around the world we asked a handful of Tearfund employees to share their experience of this time of year. From a dawn dip in the river to hunting out the best sweets in town, over the next two weeks we share their responses starting with those who work in Latin America and the Caribbean.
‘At Easter we invite families who do not know Christ to share lunch with us.’
Marcela Guzman, Project Officer Central America, Honduras:
‘Easter is a good reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice and love for us.
‘In Honduras, Easter week has become like a summer vacation so most people go out to the beaches. I visit my parents’ house where we watch the Catholic processions and celebrations and the beautiful, colourful sand carpets that people create in each city. My favourite procession is Domingo de Ramos, because it is a joyful commemoration of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem.
‘We eat less meat and more fish at Easter. We also have special corn tamales or tortillas, and typical desserts include torrejas (a syrupy French toast) and ciruelas en miel (plums in honey).’
Andrea Villarreal, LAC Communications Officer, Colombia:
‘Easter is a time to reflect on what Jesus did for me – how he saved me. It’s also about the inexhaustible love of God who gave his only son for me to live and live in abundance.
‘In my church we perform a play on Sunday and we worship together in the name of Jesus.
‘Easter in Colombia is a special season where people prepare lots of fruit sweets and jellies. You can find them on every street. So we like to go out and taste all the sweets!
‘At this time of year we eat fish, coconut rice, fried plantain and avocado salad. And of course sweets.’
Tearfund Haiti office staff:
‘Easter means new life, freedom, love, restoration, resurrection, sacrifice and revolution.
‘In Haiti we have meatless days during the week leading up to Easter and replace our regular meals with fish, beets, carrots, boiled eggs and salad. We also attend weeknight prayers at church where we reflect on the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross.
‘For us Easter is a time to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. It is a time of worship and gratitude, a time for communion with our fellow brothers and sisters. It is also a time of celebration. On Thursday night some churches celebrate by performing a foot washing service. Easter Sunday is a moment of great joy where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
‘It’s great to share sweets, eat together as a family – a big thanksgiving meal of turkey, rice, beans and cake – and share food with less fortunate people. Some of us also like buying new clothes to wear to church on Easter Sunday.’
Efraín Piuca, Project Manager Bolivia:
‘Easter means that God gives Christians the hope of attaining glory by the resurrection and by the new way of life fully guided by Christ himself.
‘In church we celebrate the Lord’s Supper with bread and wine. And as a family we invite families who do not know Christ to share lunch with us – fish accompanied by wine.’
Alexis Pacheco, Country Director Central America, Honduras:
‘Easter means life in the midst of sacrifice. Freedom and justice, in the midst of violence and poverty.’
‘We have special services on Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, as well as vigils, retreats and baptisms. I always associate the palms and the carpets of Catholic tradition with Easter. They are very beautiful and special.
‘It’s good to be with the family and rest; it’s a national holiday and many people go on vacation. We eat fish soup, seafood, tortilla with sardines and some special tamales.’
Helen Baquero, Capacity Building Officer, Colombia:
‘Easter means reflection, celebration and hope to me.
‘It’s a time to rest and spend time with my family. We attend a special service at church on resurrection Sunday called “the dawn celebration service”. It starts at 5am and we sing hymns about Jesus’ death, resurrection and his second coming. We end by sharing some local food together.
‘In different regions of the Caribbean coast we have a tradition of making exotic candies or sweets with fruits such as coconut, pineapple, plantain and milk. I really enjoy testing all the different flavours at various stalls around the city.’