“Easter celebrations offer us an opportunity to gather with Christians, Muslims and other people. For me, we gather as a large family in our ancestral home in Arua,” says Dr Eric Adriko, former deputy prime minister.
Easter preparations are in high gear, but with differing expectations. Like Dr Adriko, many people use Easter as a moment to reflect upon their faith and celebrate as family. But to some people, Easter, which is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is a short period, unlike Christmas.
Alex Turyagumanawe, a Boda boda rider says, “Easter has a few days. I take them like other days.”
Turyagumanawe is not any different from people employed in formal or corporate companies. Besides the three calendar-marked celebration days, employees are not given any extra day to commemorate Easter.
“I will be working on Saturday (today) but will join my family on Sunday (tomorrow) for a party in Entebbe,” says Anita Ashaba, a writer.
Samuel Matekha, a Public Relations Officer at Diamond Trust Bank (DBT), says their employees are given official calendar-marked holidays but their workers offer service to their clients on Saturday.
He noted that there are only two branches which never close due to their importance - those at Border points, which offer special needs like Uganda Revenue Authority’s tax collections, at Busia and Malaba.
Easter Vs Christmas
On why people tend not to celebrate Easter like Christmas, Mr Matekha says it depends on people’s beliefs and economic challenges that come around it. He says Christmas normally clocks at the end of the year when there is plenty of harvests, whereas Easter comes at a time when parents are thinking about school fees and other life challenges.
Mr Sam Ewou, a father of two boys, says Easter celebrations remind us of what the disciples went through. “By Easter Sunday, disciples were still confused about what had happened. So I intend to celebrate that day by understanding the death and resurrection of Jesus.”
Mr Ewou adds that Easter is different from Christmas because it comes with two mixed feelings, death and resurrection, unlike Christmas which is surrounded by joy of the birth of Jesus.
Father Josephat Ddungu, the Chaplain St Augustine Chapel Makerere interprets Easter as the most important day in Christian faith. “Actually, Good Friday is the most important day in the Christian faith. It shows us love by the sacrifice Jesus did which is theologically more important. It is our sins that made Jesus die for us.”
In some countries like Finland and Poland, people have an Easter tradition. Some of them travel to different places, and others have bonfires on Good Friday while others pour buckets of water to their family members and friends on Easter Monday as a way of celebration.
Locally, people normally travel to their rural homes to be part of their families, where they go to churches and also jubilate by sharing food and drinks.