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Easter in Bangladesh
Posted By David Adhikary On April 13, 2009 @ 1:30 am In Country Staff | 6 Comments
Little Acmeshall opened her eyes. It was still dark outside, but she got down from her bed and washed her face using the bucket of water in the washroom. It wasn’t like any other regular day. It was Easter.
Acmeshall washed her face and mouth with water. The 6-year-old girl woke her mother up. Her mother, Lodis, enjoyed seeing her daughter’s hurry for Easter.
Acmeshall was very happy as she wore a brand-new white skirt specially made by her mother. She said her prayers and waited for her parents to take her to church.
At the same time half a kilometer away, an 8-year-old boy, Razu, was also getting ready for the morning devotion of Easter Sunday. Things were a little different here.
Like many of the children registered in Compassion in Bangladesh, Razu belongs to a Hindu family. His family came to know about the Christians and Jesus Christ through Compassion.
Razu’s family earns their living selling milk from their cow and goats. The cow and the goats were gifts from Razu’s sponsor. Though Razu’s parents and grandfather are from another religion, they allow Razu to participate in every program of the Compassion child development center and church.
This was the first year Razu would celebrate Easter. He reminded his mother the night before to wake him up in the morning. His mother didn’t know anything about Easter, so Razu told her the story about the resurrection of Lord Jesus.
The next morning his mother called him early. He left his bed and prepared for church. He didn’t have any new clothes for Easter, so he put on his only shirt. His elder brother, Sazu, also got dressed up with him for church. Their grandfather, Ramcharan, took them to church. For Ramcharan, Easter was just another festival, only for the Christians.
Acmeshall entered the church and joined her Compassion friends at the front row. She was too little to understand the entire spiritual concept of Christ’s resurrection. However, she understood two things well: Jesus is alive and Jesus loves her. These were the most important things for this little girl.
Acmeshall learned at the Compassion child development center how to pray and how to thank God for His graces. She prayed for her own family, her sponsor and family, her friends and for her teachers.
Razu was also at church. He learned many new things about Jesus. He loved all the carols and Bible verses. He also liked how the pastor boldly declared the resurrection of Christ. It was a new experience for him. At the end of the service he said his prayer.
After the devotion, Acmeshall and Razu both spent some time with their friends. As it was a holy day, they returned to their home.
At home, Acmeshall played with her younger sister and cousins. Her mother prepared special sweets and snacks for the celebration. She made pies, called Pitha, out of flour, coconut, sugar, molasses, eggs and rice. She made custards, called Payesh, from rice, milk, molasses, sugar and coconut. They shared food with everybody.
They also had a special meal at lunchtime, beef and vegetable curry with potatoes, with lemon squeezed over it.
At evening, Acmeshall visited house to house with her friends to share the merriment of Easter with everybody.
The scenario at Razu’s house was completely opposite.
There was no special food for them. Razu didn’t have his breakfast, so he was hungry. At lunchtime his mother served him rice with little vegetables. No sweets for Razu or Sazu. They spent Easter day like any other regular day.
Along with Razu, thousands of poor Christian children all over Bangladesh couldn’t distinguish Easter day from a regular day. They are going through such poverty that celebrating Easter with new clothes and delicious food is a luxury for them.
In Bangladesh, Easter is considered as the second major festival for the Christians, after Christmas. The non-Christian people have very limited ideas about Easter. They think of it as one of the additional religious festivals.
As the Muslims and Hindus don’t believe in the resurrection of Christ, they don’t show any curiosity about this occasion. However, the Christian community of Bangladesh celebrates this glorious occasion with great joy and arrangements.
The celebration styles at the villages are different than that of the urban areas. In the villages and the rural areas, the most important part is the morning devotion at church, which take place around 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning.
After that, the Christian families share sweets and pies with their relatives and non-Christian neighbors.
The tradition of new clothes is also a part of Easter. The capable parents try to buy new clothes for their children, not dress clothes, but just everyday clothes. The exchange of gifts like Christmas time is not common.
The lifestyle of the people at the villages is very simple, and they celebrate Easter in a simple way and that brings an exceptional flavor to this joyous occasion. Their simple lifestyle allows them to focus completely on the resurrection rather than on fancy clothing or food.
Acmeshall’s mother, Lodis, shared her Easter experience with us.
“Easter is very important for us, as it tell us about the resurrection of our Lord. I am very happy that my daughter learned at the Compassion child development center that Jesus is alive. She can pray herself, and she is building a great relationship with God.”
Little Acmeshall was very excited about Easter.
“Did you see my new skirt? My mother made it for me. We had a great Easter day. I know Jesus is Alive and he will come to take me. I love Jesus.”
In the capital Dhaka, the most exciting part of Easter Sunday is the Sun Rise Service. It is the special morning devotion, arranged in front of the Parliament building before the sun rises.
More than 15,000 Christians from all over Dhaka join the Morning Prayer to celebrate the precious occasion of Jesus’ resurrection. This worship and prayer service is a symbol of fellowship and love.
The dawn of Easter Sunday starts with worshiping our God and remembering His most precious gift for humanity. After the service, greetings are exchanged by the people.
Almost every church arranges a special service and fellowship meal in the evening. Adults as well as the children together enjoy the happy moments.
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