‘Passion Week’ begins for Christians in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: People in Kerala on Sunday turned up at churches in large numbers to take part in the mass on the occasion of Palm Sunday.

Starting this Sunday till Easter Sunday, it is known as ‘Passion Week’, when most Christian households generally turn vegetarian.

The convention in Kerala is that coconut fronds are distributed to the faithful to commemorate Jesus Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, when palm leaves were placed in his path, before his arrest and crucifixion on Good Friday.

On Sunday, traffic was regulated in cities and towns for a while as devotees took to the street with the coconut fronds held high.

Most denominations of the Churches have varying duration of observing lent, but the Orthodox Church has the longest, which extends 50 days, when non-vegetarian food items are not consumed.

Of the 33.4 million Kerala population, Christians number 61.41 lakh (29.94 lakh males and 31.47 lakh females), out whom the Catholics constitute around 50 per cent.

At most households, the coconut fronds that are received at the Church are placed before the picture of Christ and are kept there till the Christmas eve, when these are given back to the churches, to be used in bonfire then.