People in Australia celebrate Easter in a myriad of ways, from devout religious practices, church services, to the simple act of sharing a meal with family and friends, the giving and receiving of eggs and watching the children go on an Easter egg hunt.
You might enjoy fish on Good Friday, a roast lamb on Easter Sunday, Easter eggs or some fresh hot cross buns which have a symbolic cross on the top.
Known as a moveable feast, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon of March.
This year Easter Sunday falls on April 1.
It signifies the end of the period of fasting and self-denial known as Lent.
The story of Easter has been told many times over and for millions across the world it still holds a great power and significance today.
Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, three days after he was executed.
After his trial and prosecution by the Romans, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of God who travelled around ancient Judea and Jerusalem was condemned to crucifixion, according to the Bible.
The Bible says that after a long walk carrying his own cross through the streets of Jerusalem, he endured pain and suffering during his time on the cross, dying on what is now considered Good Friday.
To acknowledge the death of Jesus, Catholics do not eat red meat on Good Friday and have fish instead.
Jesus was taken down from the cross and buried in a cave tomb.
The tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers and an enormous stone was put over the entrance so that no-one could steal the body.
Then, as the New Testament describes, Jesus came back to life on the third day, Easter Sunday, and ascended into heaven.
Christians call this the resurrection.
As we contemplate the true meaning of Easter, it is worth reflecting on the fact that Jesus did not wish to die.
His living was marked with happiness as he taught, led, worshipped, healed, prayed, advised and inspired a host of people who welcomed him as a hero and a prophet.
His death has been interpreted by many as a self-sacrifice for the salvation of humankind.
Use this Easter season to reflect on seeking Jesus, helping others and spending time with your family.
EASTER CHURCH SERVICES AROUND CESSNOCK CITY
ANGLICAN PARISH OF CESSNOCK
- Maundy Thursday, 7pm at St John’s Cessnock.
- Good Friday, 9am at St Luke’s Millfield and St John’s Cessnock.
- Easter Saturday, 6pm at St John’s Cessnock.
- Easter Sunday, 10am at St Luke’s Millfield.
ANGLICAN PARISH OF MOUNT VINCENT AND WESTON
- Wednesday, 6pm, at St Mary’s Weston – Tenebrae: lessons and responses for Holy Week.
- Holy Thursday, 6pm at Christ Church Mount Vincent – Eucharist of the Last Supper, with the foot washing service.
- Good Friday, 9.30am at St. Paul’s Kurri Kurri; 10.30am at St Mary’s and 10.30am at Christ Church – Good Friday Liturgy.
- Holy Saturday, 7pm at St Paul’s – Easter Vigil, striking of the new fire, blessing of the Paschal Candles, renewal of Baptismal vows.
- Easter Sunday, 8.30am at St Mary’s and 10am at Christ Church – Eucharist for Easter Day, with Easter egg hunt at Christ Church.
CESSNOCK BAPTIST CHURCH
- Good Friday, 9am.
- Easter Sunday, 10.30am.
CESSNOCK CITY CHURCH
- Good Friday, 9.30am – sharing on the cross and children's events.
- Easter Sunday, 10am – confirming the resurrection; 6pm – celebrating the resurrection. Supper provided.
CESSNOCK CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
- Good Friday, 9am at St Philip’s Christian College, Nulkaba
- Easter Sunday, 10am at St Philip’s Christian College, Nulkaba; 7pm at 71 Wollombi Road, West Cessnock
CESSNOCK UNITING CHURCH
- Maundy Thursday, 7pm.
- Good Friday, 9.30am.
- Easter Sunday, 9.30am.
KURRI KURRI CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
- Good Friday, 9am.
- Easter Sunday, morning service at 10.15am; night service at 6.30pm.
SALVATION ARMY CESSNOCK
- Good Friday, 10am.
- Easter Sunday, 10am.
VINEYARDS CATHOLIC COMMUNITY (PARISHES OF CESSNOCK AND KURRI KURRI)
- Holy Thursday, 7pm at St Francis Xavier’s Abermain – Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
- Good Friday, 9.30am at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Kurri Kurri and 11am at St Joseph’s Cessnock – Stations of the Cross; 3pm at St Joseph’s Cessnock and Holy Spirit Kurri Kurri – Lord’s Passion.
- Easter Saturday, 7pm at St Joseph’s Cessnock and Holy Spirit Kurri Kurri – vigil mass.
- Easter Sunday, 8am at St Joseph’s Cessnock; 9.30am at St Francis Xavier’s Abermain; 11.30am at St Michael’s Wollombi – Mass.