‘Devotee’ Christians in Kerala begin Easter lent
Thiruvananthapuram: Traditional Christians – the ones who belong to the yesteryears culture and tradition have begun to observe the Easter lent, starting from Sunday.
According to Census report, of the 33.4 million Kerala population, Christians number 61.41 lakh (29.94 lakh males and 31.47 lakh females).
Of this the Catholics constitute around 50 per cent, followed by almost a dozen Churches practising various rights and for all the observing of the Easter lent is more or less the same.
The most Orthodox among the Christians observe the generally accepted 50 day lent when they turn vegan and the lent ends on April 17, with the Easter celebrations.
“Gone are the days when the lent was strictly observed when people used to even forego milk in their morning bed coffee/tea and even the humble curd was also not taken. In my younger days, meat, fish and egg never used to be there on the dining tables,” said 85-year-old Annamma Mathew.
Consequent to the arrival of the Covid pandemic since March 2020, the previous two years, Easter prayers were a low key affair.
“We all wish with the Covid numbers coming down and the Kerala government lifting the Covid protocols, all are waiting to return to the Churches as at some Churches there are prayers sessions — everyday as part of observing the Easter lent,” said retired teacher Susan Thomas.
But middle aged homemaker and mother of 2 teenagers, Gloriamma is not that pleased the way the new generations approach towards Easter.
“The world has changed rapidly in all spheres and divinity has become a casualty. I seriously doubt if the new generation is really serious in observing rituals. I feel, my generation will perhaps be the last where rituals are observed the way my parents and their generation observed rituals,” said Gloriamma.
A 25 year old Christian youth made no bones of his outlook towards rituals.
“Personally, I feel and what I have been observing are those in my age group have a lot of questions to ask when it comes to observing the traditional rituals. It increased, especially in the past two years, when the pandemic ruled the roost, when even places of worship remained locked for months, reducing religion to be nothing but a myth. The world is changing, so I don’t think anyone needs to be blamed as it’s not an easy task to be chained to age old customs,” said the youth.
However, what Kerala Christians have witnessed is while there may not be much enthusiasm to undertake the entire 50 day lent, the recent phenomenon is most of them makes sure that they observe the rituals during the Holy Week (which is believed to be Jesus Christ’s last week and ends with his resurrection which is celebrated as Easter) which this year starts from April 10.
The important days during the week includes Monday Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, when the non-vegetarian dishes return to the dining tables.