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Celebrating Easter in the Holy Land: Top 5 Experiences You Shouldn’t Miss

You’re about to embark on the trip of a lifetime-a Holy Land pilgrimage that will coincide with the celebration of Easter, a unique and truly exciting experience for any Christian. This year, record numbers of tourists are expected to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the holy city where the story of Easter takes place. As is customary, a host of very special activities are planned in celebration of the holiday. Father Juan Maria Solana, L.C, Charge of the Holy See, gave Travelujah his top 5 “must do” experiences for Christians celebrating Easter in the Holy Land.

1. Go to an Easter Celebration in Jerusalem. There are numerous services in churches all over Jerusalem as well as in other major cities throughout the land. Make sure you visit at least one service during Holy Week.

2. Participate in the Palm Sunday and the Good Friday Processions. The Palm Sunday procession is held on Sunday April 1, 2012 at 2:30 in the afternoon and commemorates the entry of  Jesus into Jerusalem. The procession is led by the Latin Patriarchate and begins at Bethphage and continues into the Old City entering in through entering through the St. Stephen’s Gate and ending at the Church of St. Anne.  The Good Friday procession is led by Franciscan Friars begins at 11:30 am in the Old City and follows the path that Jesus took on the day of his death, known as the Way of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa. “Being a part of this very special procession,” says Father John, “is a unique experience for any Christian.”

3. Celebrate a Passover Seder. “Every Christian should have a Passover Seder with a Jewish family because our Eucharest comes from Passover,” says Father John. Moreover, a Passover Seder is a true family celebration, something that is not very Catholic. As he explains, “Catholics celebrate Easter by attending Mass, but it is centered around priests, not the family.”

4. Visit the Holy Sepulchre on Easter Sunday. This shrine is where the last five Stations of the Cross are located. No Easter in the Holy Land is complete without exploring this historic shrine.

5. Recite the Gospels in the Upper Room. To have a truly authentic experience, visit the Upper Room located at Mount Zion and while you are there make sure you read about the resurrection in the Gospels. Jesus’s appearance to the Apostles occurred in the Upper Room.


If you go:

Good Friday at the Holy Sepulchre

8.00 a.m. – Celebration of the Passion of the Lord, Calvary. The doors will remain opened.
4.00 p.m. – The Liturgy of the Hours
8.10 p.m. – “Funeral” Procession

Good Friday Procession (Via Crucis)

11:30a.m. – Procession beginning at the First Station of the Cross with the Franciscan Friars

Passover Seder Experience


Hineni – 02-624-9747 or email

Easter Sunday at the Holy Sepulchre

7:30a.m. – Entry into the Basilica by the Latin Patriarch
8:00a.m. – Solemn Mass of Resurrection and Procession around the Rotunda
5:00p.m. – Daily Procession

Mount Zion Upper Room

The Upper Room is open daily from 8:30 to 4:00 pm
On Holy Thursday- at 3:30 pm there is a Pilgrimage to the Cenacle and to the Church of St. James

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