Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar. It celebrates the resurrection from the dead of Jesus, three days after he was executed. The Easter story is at the heart of Christianity.
The Carrying of the Cross (aka Road to Calvary) by Simone Martini
Easter Sunday marks Jesus' resurrection.
After Jesus was crucified on the Friday (now known as Good Friday), his body 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-
On the Sunday, Mary Magdalene, followed later by some of Jesus' disciples visited the tomb and found that the stone had been moved, and that Jesus' body had gone.
Jesus himself was seen that day by Mary and the disciples, and for forty days afterwards by many people. His followers realised that God had raised Jesus from the dead. Christians call this the Resurrection.
The week leading up to Easter is called Holy Week.
This is the Sunday before Easter Day.
It is the first day of Holy Week and celebrates Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Crowds of people came out of the city to greet him, throwing down palm branches on the road.
Churches give out small crosses made from palm leaves, as a reminder of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem and his death on the cross. Some Christians keep these in their homes all year as a symbol of their faith.
This is the Thursday before Easter Day
On Maundy Thursday Christians remember when Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples, breaking bread and drinking wine, which is now known as the Last Supper.
Many Christians remember this by sharing bread and wine together in a service called Holy Communion, Eucharist or Mass. It is a reminder that Jesus sacrificed his life for mankind.
At this meal Jesus told his followers that they should love and serve one another. He demonstrated this by washing the feet of the disciples -
The word maundy comes from the command (mandate) given by Jesus at the Last Supper, that we should love one another.
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. It commemorates the execution of Jesus by crucifixion.
Good Friday is a day of mourning in church. During special Good Friday services Christians remember Jesus' suffering and death on the cross, and what this means for their faith.
In some countries, there are special Good Friday processions, or re-