Jan 4, 2012, 12:08 PM
For Christians in The Gambia, and millions of Christians worldwide, Easter is the most important celebration of the church year.
Every Christian creed includes the resurrection of Jesus. It is this one solitary fact, believed as absolute truth, which defines Christianity.
Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday, which was observed in The Gambia last Sunday, is a reminder of the final week in the life of Jesus before his crucifixion and resurrection.
It was marked in The Gambia with street processions, especially by members of the Catholic community in Banjul and the Kombos, which ended in church ceremonies that engaged the faithful in timeless rituals and sacramental practices.
For Christians, the reality and truth of Easter focuses on the one event that makes the celebration so unique to them: the resurrection of Jesus. That is the meaning of Easter!
Easter is the day when Christians celebrate Jesus Christ rising from the dead.
Jesus Christians believe is the Son of God, and gave his life to die for the sins of man.
On the third day after he died - the day Christians now celebrate as Easter Sunday - his friends went to his grave, and found that he had risen from the dead.
Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, Christians believe; now he offers to man the gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins.
We in The Gambia have a tradition of jointly observing the Christian feast of Easter, and it will be the same this year.
Indeed, all Gambians are eagerly looking forward to the holiday period beginning with Good Friday.
This is a time when Christians in The Gambia prepare Nan Mburu which is a mixture of pounded rice, baobab flour, water and sugar, which is served as food to family members, friends, neighbours and work mates.
This is a Gambian meal known only in Gambia and parts of Senegal, particularly Dakar and Goree. The preparation has a base of pounded rice rolled by hand into little rice balls that are pressure-steamed over the fire.
Over the rice balls is later poured sweetened juice of the baobab fruit. The finished product is well-loved by children and grownups alike, and generously served in the family, as well as to non-Christian neighbours, particularly Muslim friends and relatives.
This meal could be served, and is sometimes repeated, on Easter Sunday the day of Christ’s resurrection.
On the occasion of Easter celebrated this Easter week-end through Easter Monday, we want all Christians in The Gambia to know that we understand their sorrow on the event of Good Friday.
We also assure Christians that we share with them the joy of the resurrection - which symbolizes the triumph of man over death - and in this regard, we say: Have a Happy Easter holiday!
“One religion is as true as another”