In Christianity the last week of the Lenten season, that is the week prior to the Jamaican Easter is known as the Holy week. This week include the Christian holidays of Holy Thursday, Palm Sunday and the Good Friday. This week signifies the last week of Jesus Christ life on earth, which was ended with the crucifixion on the Good Friday and on Easter Sunday it was his resurrection.
Ash Wednesday is celebrated yearly in Jamaica and is usually six weeks prior to Easter in Jamaica. This holiday is held as an observance of lent and this day would be the first day of the lent, this is a period of forty days. Ash Wednesday is celebrated by most of the Christians as a time of penitence and fasting. This holiday is usually celebrated on different dates as it would depend on the date for the Easter.
The period for the fasting was a strict rule in the Roman Catholic churches, but this has changed now to persons only fasting for the day of the Good Friday and the Ash Wednesday. Fasting in Jamaica is usually held on the Ash Wednesday in most churches, but these churches do not bound person to participate it is left to their individual’s sense of right or wrong. During the season of lent in Jamaica most persons obtain from eating meat for the entire forty days that the season would lasted.
The name Ash Wednesday is said to have come about from the customs of marking person’s forehead with ashes which signifies repentance of sins. This ash would be gathered after the palms were burnt from the Palm Sunday that was held the previous year. Roman Catholic churches observed the Ash Wednesday with self-restraints from the meat, repentance and fasting. The Anglican also recognizes it as a day for fasting. However in other Christian churches their primary focus would be on the repentance for the Good Friday and Ash Wednesday and these observances are not obligatory.
All of these practices are based on the bible teachings as it is following the period of the fasting that Jesus Christ did for the forty days that he was in the dessert just praying and fasting.
Good Friday is celebrated in Jamaica before the Easter Sunday; this is a predominant Christian holiday. This day is said to be the day when Jesus was crucified and is also the ending of the lent season. During the Lenten season some Jamaicans try to change their eating habits, develop good lifestyle and perform commendable conducts.
This day also had a special code that everyone adhere to, it was stipulated that only the colors of white, black or purple would be worn. In the early years this was very rigid and no matter where a person would be going on that day those are the colors that should be worn. But today all of this has changed as persons wear just about any color that they want.
On Good Friday, it is traditionally a day when persons go to church and worship for three hours and that usually starts at noon in most of the churches in Jamaica. This is day that most families would not light the fire to cook any food, in some churches it is a day of fasting. It is the customary for persons to prepare fried fish from the night before, this was the Holy Thursday and on the Good Friday it would be eaten with bread. Also, accompanying this fish meal, persons would eat the bun and cheese which is specialty that is eaten during this holiday.
Easter Sunday in Jamaica is celebrated annually but not on a fixed date. The weekend for the Easter is normally a quiet time and most persons attend church ceremonies on this day. This is a big celebration in the Christian communities as it corroborates the mysticism of Jesus Christ and signifies the resurrection. Majority of Christians and Non-Christians who missed church for long periods of time, for the most part they will attend the Easter services. Traditionally, most churches will sing hymns which depict the resurrection and reestablishing of their faith.
At this time of the year even if the Jamaican people are not the religious type, they will reflect on the good things in their lives and on what the resurrection means to them.
Another way that persons celebrate this day is by going on trips, children will indulge in kite flying, the eating of the bun cheese and by attending numerous events such as the different festivals that are held this time of the year.
Easter Monday is also a public holiday in Jamaica; this is the continuous celebration from the Good Friday. In the Christian communities it is said that this was the day when Jesus was raised from the dead. Therefore some persons still continue the worship on this day. This day is also celebrated in secular world as day for parties, dance and festivals.