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Easter in East Asia: traditions and opportunities

As Easter fast approaches, we take a quick look at how churches across East Asia celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection:

1. Taiwan
In Taiwan, there are no public holidays around Easter. So the main Easter celebration in most churches is on Easter Sunday. Some churches have an Easter parade on Easter Sunday where they go around their community and hand out eggs and share blessings with the neighbourhood.
These are often red, hardboiled eggs, representing the new life that can be found in Jesus.

2. Philippines
Easter is a significant event in this mainly Roman Catholic nation. Luz, a Protestant Christian in the Southern Philippines shares what Easter looks like for her:

‘I grew up in a culturally Christian home in the Southern Philippines, and we attended church most Sundays, but Easter was a special time when we attended the Easter Sunday service to celebrate ‘Adlaw sa Pagkabanhaw’, or Day of Resurrection. We would rise very early, to witness the ‘sugat’ or sunrise, with a pre-dawn service at around 4am, and welcome in the new day.

Years later as an adult, I came to understand the gospel, and at my current church, I’m looking forward to an early morning service on Easter Sunday to remember what Jesus has done for me.

Many Filipinos would observe Easter by attending as many of the dawn Catholic masses during ‘Holy Week’ days (Thursday to Sunday) as they can, so that their prayers would be heard. They will also avoid travelling on Black Saturday – the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday – because it is considered dangerous; since Christ is still in the grave, and cannot help you if you meet with misfortune. Easter is celebrated in our mainly Roman Catholic country as a holy time, with public holidays, special services, and contemplation of Jesus’ suffering and resurrection.’

3. Thailand
OMF worker Christina Sutter shares that the church she is part of has services for both Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The Good Friday service takes place in the evening as the day is not a public holiday in Thailand and the church is decorated specially for the occasion.

For Easter Sunday, Christina writes:
‘In Khonkaen city some churches get together before sunrise to celebrate Easter. We meet in a public park and with worship songs we proclaim the risen Lord. Someone shares a testimony and gives a Bible message explaining what Easter is all about. Then we take holy communion. Sometimes people who exercise in that park stop to listen in.

Afterwards there is an egg search/hunt in the area and we all get a rice soup breakfast and stay together for fellowship.
In one church they also do an easter egg competition! Members bring their decorated eggs that will be judged. The most beautifully decorated egg will get a price. In another church they cook various egg dishes that they eat together for lunch.’


Pray with us
– Take a moment to pray for your sisters and brothers in Christ as they mark Easter this year. May they know the joy of the risen Lord Jesus and share it with others.

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