Easter is the greatest Christian holiday, the day when the resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated and the victory of life over death. The preparation for Easter begins with Lent, a time of renunciation and penance that lasts 40 days before the Holy Week. In Kostajnica, traditionally, every Lenten Friday, before the 18:30 Mass, the devotion of the Way of the Cross is held by visiting the chapels and churches in this area.
Holy week begins on Sunday before Easter, called Palm Sunday. On the feast of Palm Sunday, Jesus’ solemn entrance into Jerusalem is celebrated. In memory of that day, the blessing of olive branches is organized in front of the cross on the meadow, near the remains of St. Nicholas church.
After the blessing of the branches, believers go in procession to the church of St. Anthony of Padua, where the mass is held at which passages from the Gospels that speak of Jesus’ passion and death, are read and sung.
With Palm Sunday begins the Holy Week – it is a week of intense prayer and penance. On Holy Thursday the blessing of oil is performed and the renewal of priestly promises is made. On Holy Friday we remember Jesus’ death, and there is no Mass held on that day, but there are Holy Friday rites performed – prayer of the faithful and adoration of the Holy Cross. After friday comes Holy Saturday and final preparations for the celebration of Easter.
On Holy Saturday it is tradition in this areas to decorate Easter eggs which are a symbol of life. According to a long lasting tradition, even today in some families Easter eggs are decorated in a way that the eggs are covered with clover leaves, wrapped in gauze and then cooked with red onion leaves to dye them red.
Easter eggs and boiled ham are put in a basket. Traditionally on Easter a blessing of food is done to give thanks to God on all of the gifts He gives us.