An important mass is held on Saturday night to commemorate the resurrection of Christ and the ultimate triumph of life over death, of good over evil. At
the beginning of the celebration the Church is in darkness, to remind Christians of the darkness from which Christ rescues them and the promise of Heaven which he brings. Outside or inside the Church a fire is
kindled, from which a single great candle is lit, representing the Lord, whose light shines in our darkness. All those present light their own candles from this Paschal candle until the whole Church becomes a sea of
lights. The Easter Mass that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ is expressed by the chiming of Church bells at the singing of the Gloria and the recurring joyful alleluias, which also mark the liturgy of
the whole Easter week
Associated with Easter in popular lore are the lamb (brought over from the Jewish ‘Passover’) recalling Christ as the Lamb of God. Easter eggs (a
reminder of the old Spring rites) have been given a new meaning by Christians as symbols of resurrection. The chick breaking out of the egg is symbolical of a new life.
On Easter night relatives and friends come together over a warm and cordial dinner. The spirit of Easter is abroad in the country. The light that has
been languishing for so long a period now shines with renewed brightness. There is great rejoicing throughout the country. All is well.
Easter is particularly close to the Jewish feast of the Passover which celebrates the passing of the Angel of the Lord over the houses of the Jews in
Egypt, and the deliverance of Israel from servitude. These Old Testament events are looked upon by Christians as events heralding the actual Passover — that of Jesus Christ risen from death on Easter Sunday
According to the Bible, there was a man named Joseph, a good righteous man. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. ‘Then he took it down and
wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb, where no one had ever yet been laid. The women who had come with him followed, then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.
On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled
Easter in Rodrigues
A complete transformation takes place during Lent — the forty days preceding Easter. The vast majority of Rodriguans, in sign of penance, give up some
form of pleasure like drinking or smoking or dancing. Here one can truly say fasting prevails over feasting. It is a time of conversion when everyone confesses his sins and seeks God’s pardon. Masses are celebrated
in the villages and people listen to special instructions given by the priests.
Just before Easter, great sanctity reigns throughout the Holy Week. On Holy Thursday, preceding Easter, Christians commemorate the last supper of Jesus
with his apostles by attending Mass in the evening.
Holy Friday is observed with great piety and fasting is more severe. Processions come from different parts to the main church at St Gabriel. Thousands of
people walk piously to the old stone and coral ‘Cathedral’ through difficult roads, bearing a large and heavy wooden cross and singing hymns and psalms. Towards three in the afternoon, the hushed crowd listens with
renewed emotion to the reading, in the Gospel, of the Passion of Jesus Christ. By looking at a large crucifix which is presented for their veneration, they remember how Jesus died on the Cross to save us from all
candle. A sea of light surges from the night while a great peaceful joy fills every heart. Christ is alive and his life is shared by all who believe in
This joy goes on throughout Easter Sunday. Great crowds come to Mass in all the churches. The whole island revives. Bells chime joyously for long. Kisses
and wishes are exchanged.
After Mass, families gather either at the grandparents’ home or they go to the sea-side to celebrate. The Easter meal is copious and richly prepared.
Alcoholic drinks appear again. After the period of penance now is the time for rejoicing. Christ is risen. Feasting now prevails over fasting. The celebration will often be prolonged by family dancing parties or
even a public ball featuring traditional Rodriguan folklore complete with ‘triangle’ and accordion.
After the ceremony everyone trudges back home in complete silence as after attending a funeral.
Throughout the following Saturday there is no religious activity. But during the night of Saturday to Sunday, the Easter celebration starts with the
great Easter Vigil. During the night of Christ’s Resurrection, a big candle is lit and its light is communicated to the faithful holding each a small