Christian community members praying in a church in Parachinar on the eve of Easter here on Sunday.

By Amina Khan

Peshawar: 14-year-old Ashu wakes up to noise of blow dryer, his older sister twisting her hair to the heat of it in haste. That was the time when he realized that the time had come for the most festive occasion of their community.

Happy Easter, he calls his sister, to which she responds; wait up, hold on and get ready as we’re getting late!

As excited Ashu is all set after wearing his new clothes and shoes on, he walks through the fairy lights and balloons decorated corridor of his house and met his Muslim friends in neighborhood who wished him Easter and handed him over a greeting card and a sweet Pineapple cake, he then thanked him and asked them to join them in the evening party. He then sat in the car as the family headed to the church for the tradition.

On 1st April, the Christian community from across the city is gathered in churches to observe Eid Qayamat-al-Masih (Easter mass). The Christian devotees perform their customs and traditions according to their religion and then head to relative’s house to celebrate it.

The Easter is observed under tight security and heavy contingents of police arranged by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are deployed outside the church to maintain peace.

Like every year, Ashu asks Nida, what is Easter and why do we celebrate it and she explains to him that Easter is a huge celebration in which they commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from death as believed by all Christians.

In Church, Nida explained Ashu that on this day, there are three top traditions that they perform after fasting for 40 consecutive days.

The first is that they worship, then they pray and the last one is they are offered “Pak Sharakat” in which the Father Pastor gives roti (bread) and Angoor ka rus (grape juice) to all the attendants.

Ashu and Nida excitedly arrives back home to the smell of fresh dry-fruit cake baked by their mother early morning. They arrange the gifts that are to be distributed among the friends and family and wish each other Happy Easter!

The first is that they worship, then they pray and the last one is they are offered “Pak Sharakat” in which the Father Pastor gives roti (bread) and Angoor ka rus (grape juice) to all the attendants.

Ashu’s father Samuel Masih is residing in Gulberg area of Peshawar for the past 30 years and they say that they are most satisfied with their country. Every year, the neighbors greet them and share the joy of their cultural celebration with love and enthusiasm.

Emanuel Masih, father of Samuel Masih is a local Priest at a church in Peshawar who has always guided his children love, peace and harmony.

“We love the way our Muslim security guards and police stand by us in all over celebrations and in mounrings,” said Emanuel Masih.

This year, Easter was marked in Peshawar and parts of KP and FATA with religious zeal and enthusiasm where the Christians prayed for peace, prosperity and stability in the country.

A brief history on Easter:

Easter is celebrated as resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion. In the past, the Christians began remembering the resurrection on every Sunday following its occurrence but there were few elders who opposed it. Then there were misunderstanding with the dates as to celebrate on a Wednesday or Sunday. There were rumors that it should be held on the date of resurrection during Passover. However some believed that the Lord rose on a Sunday. Finally the council decided Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox.