Spending Easter in Israel, the Holy Land is for Christians one of the most exciting and special times to visit, combining the experience of a pilgrimage in Israel with the unique experience of spending Easter in the very place which the story took place. Easter is a busy time in Israel for Christian pilgrims, with tens of thousands coming from around the world to explore the country and take part in the many special events, highlighted by the famous procession of thousands along the Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The centerpiece of the celebration of Easter in Israel is, of course, the city of Jerusalem. Orthodox and Catholic Christians focus their celebrations on Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, where they have marked crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus since the fourth century. Easter, like Christmas in Israel, is one of the two major periods of the year for Christian visits to the country.
Easter Events in Israel
There are a number of iconic Easter celebrations in Jerusalem which include:
- One of the most iconic elements of Easter in Israel is the famous Good Friday procession in which thousands of Christian pilgrims march along the Via Dolorosa in the Christian Quarter of the Old City.
- On Saturday, Orthodox Christians celebrate the Ceremony of the Holy Fire, when thousands gather to await the miraculous lighting of the Patriarch’s candle from within the tomb.
- On Palm Sunday, the stream of pilgrims who descend the Mount of Olives singing hymns and bearing palm fronds, reenacting Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem.
- For Protestant Christians, the highlight of Easter Sunday is the Sunrise Service at the Garden Tomb.