Lent, Easter and Whitsun
Lent reminds Christians of Jesus’ temptations during his forty days in the wilderness at the start of his ministry. It begins on Ash Wednesday when Christians traditionally deny themselves luxuries. The day before Ash Wednesday, called Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, was traditionally the day when a feast of pancakes used up the luxuries in the house ready for a period of abstinence. During the last week of Lent, called Passion Week, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are especially important days for Christian observance. Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem with Palm crosses given out. Maundy Thursday remembers the institution of the Last Supper and in many churches people’s feet are washed by the priest. Good Friday is the day upon which Jesus was crucified. Often there are long services, passion plays or processions. Easter Sunday marks the end of Lent and celebrates the empty tomb and Jesus’ resurrection. This is probably the most important day of the year for practicing Christians. Whit Sunday comes 50 days after Easter and marks the time when the gift of the Holy Spirit came to the believers of the early church.