I admit, we have been less than stellar about getting the boys to mass on a regular basis (although in fairness, this year has been a little better). They actually have a great interest in the bible and great curiosity about all of the things in it that took place right on our doorstep. As such, we felt it would be really inexcusable to not participate in the Easter traditions here once before we go (in case anyone is wondering why not previous years, we were in the US in 2013 and in Petra/Wadi Rum last year).
First stop – at least for Tony – was the Good Friday Way of the Cross procession. Beginning in the Garden of Gethsamene, it recreates Jesus’ journey to Calvary (Golgotha), the site of the crucifixion, found within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (first constructed in the fourth century by Constantine the Great). For this event, the entrances to the Old City are shut down to manage the crowds and only by dashing through the Old City and then around its perimeter was he able to squeeze his way in via the last open entrance.
On Easter Sunday, we went to Mass in the morning, opting for the “normal” English church here rather than braving the three hour Latin mass at Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection.
After a traditional Easter brunch of falafel, hummus, and fattoush at a favorite Old City dive, we did head into the chaos. Despite the location, there was not much holy or spiritual about the hoards of people shoving children to make their to the churches many notable corners. We did make it up to Golgotha, but saved having the boys touch the “Rock of Calvary” for another, quieter visit.They did manage to get a few fingers on the slab of stone Jesus’ body is believed to have rested on as he was prepared for burial. The site of the tomb/resurrection was blocked for a procession that we watched for a few minutes before escaping.