The Christians in Kurdistan Region Celebrate the Easter Season
The Christians in Kurdistan region of Iraq consider the Easter season as the core of the Christian faith. It is the major movable feast of the liturgical year. The Easter season may fall on any Sunday between March 22nd and April 23rd. The Christians defer to the Jewish practice of using moon phases to decide the timing of the feast.
We find this great Christian festival as a conjunction of the cycles of nature and the mythic cycle of the liturgical year. Because of this, many of the symbols that we associate with this feast, such as chicks, Easter eggs and rabbits, are fertility symbols, representing the renewal and proliferation of life in Spring. Probably this is the reason why they call this feast “The Grand Feast” compared to the other feasts of the Christian faith such as Christmas, Epiphany ….etc.
The Christians in Kurdistan consider the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the central pivot of their lives; they use different forms of greetings during the feast such as “Christ is risen” with the response “Truly is risen".
The Easter celebration usually includes the drama of betraying Jesus by “Judas”, one of the twelve disciples. Then they go through the meaning of death and resurrection. So the Christians celebrate this joy as they celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection in this night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death by his heavenly Ascension. The Christians take this feast as the greatest opportunity to renew their baptism vows because baptism is considered as the tomb. In other words, when the Christians are baptized, they confess their sins and ask for forgiveness to begin a new life with Jesus. Therefore on this most blessed night they resolve once more to leave their sins behind and live in the grace of Christ and renew their baptism promises during these services by holding candles lit from the Paschal Candle which in turn was lit from the Easter fire that is a symbol of “Christ's rise from death”.