Christianity. Prayer and Festivals. Contents. Prayer The Lord’s Prayer Advent Christmas Maundy Thursday Good Friday Holy Saturday Easter Summary. Prayer.
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Often churches are made to look slightly more simple – for example, flowers are taken away. When priests wear coloured vestments for services, the colour of Advent is purple – symbolising preparation and saying sorry.
Churches and homes often have an Advent wreath. It is a ring of greenery with five candles – four purple ones and one white one. One extra purple candle is lit on each Sunday of Advent and the white one is for Christmas Day.
Other people have Advent candles marked with the numbers from 1 to 24 and burned each day or Advent calendars with different pictures behind each of 24 doors.
The emphasis is on counting down, waiting and preparation.
The week before Easter is called ‘Holy Week’. On the Thursday, Christians remember the Last Supper with a Communion Service in the evening.
Just before the Last Supper, Jesus showed his service of his disciples by washing their feet. Many churches have this or a similar gesture take place.
At the end of the service, the altar might be stripped and then there might be a vigil in the church until midnight. This brings to mind the waiting in the Garden of Gethsemane before Jesus was arrested.
Many Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus by going to an Easter vigil. They light a fire outside the church remembering new life. The special Easter (Paschal) candle is lit and carried into the darkened church. The candles of the congregation are lit – the darkness begins to become light.
After this there are readings from the Bible telling the story of the history of the world.
The emphasis is on new life – so this is an appropriate time to celebrate baptisms. All people tend to renew the promises that were made at their baptisms to believe in God and turn away from sin.