Top 5: 'Must do' Easter experiences

A host of very special activities are planned in Jerusalem to celebrate the Christian holiday.

Room of the Last Supper 370 (photo credit: Courtesy
Room of the Last Supper 370
(photo credit: Courtesy
For further information on Christian tourism and Holy Land Tours to Israel contact  Travelujah.
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. Easter service
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. Palm Sunday, Good Friday Processions
Participate in the Palm Sunday and the Good Friday Processions. The Palm Sunday procession is held on Sunday April 1, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. and commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. 
Approximately 5,000 to 10,000 people are expected to join this event. The procession is led by the Latin Patriarchate and begins at Bethphage and continues into the Old City entering through the St. Stephen's Gate and ending at the Church of St. Anne.
The Good Friday procession is led by Franciscan Friars and begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Old City. The walk 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 Juan, "is a unique experience for any Christian."
3. Passover Seder
Celebrate a Passover Seder. "Every Christian should have a Passover Seder with a Jewish family because our Eucharest comes from Passover," says Father Juan. 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.  The Holy Sepulchre
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
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.
And now for a few of Travelujah's own suggestions:
Easter at the Garden Tomb
Not only is Easter Sunday a special day at the Garden Tomb but on April 14 the Garden Tomb holds its annual Arabic Easter event which brings together 500 to 600 Arab and Israeli believers. Seeing both Israelis and Palestinians together in prayer makes this an even more spiritually significant event.
Holy Fire Ceremony
On April 12 Orthodox Christians gather early in the morning at the Church of the Sepulchre for the annual Holy Fire Ceremony.
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 Hours8.10 p.m. - "Funeral" Procession
Good Friday Procession (Via Crucis)
11:30 a.m. - Procession beginning at the First Station of the Cross with the Franciscan Friars
Passover Seder Experience
Hineni Jerusalem - (020 624-9747
Easter Sunday at the Holy Sepulchre
7:30 a.m. - Entry into the Basilica by the Latin Patriarch8:00 a.m. - Solemn Mass of Resurrection and Procession around the Rotunda5:00 p.m. - Daily Procession
Mount Zion Upper Room
The Upper Room is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 pmOn Holy Thursday- at 3:30 p.m. there is a Pilgrimage to the Cenacle and to the Church of St. James
Garden Tomb
Garden Tomb is open Monday through Saturday 8:30 a.m. - noon and 2:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
April 8 - Resurrection Celebration (Easter Sunday)
April 14 - Easter Worship in Arabic
Holy Fire Ceremony
April 12 -  Church of the Holy Sepulchre
For further information on Easter in the Holy Land or Christian tourism to the Holy Land, email [email protected]
Elisa L. Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah-Holy Land Tours, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan, and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.