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Sri Lankan Catholics worry about Holy Week traditions

The faithful continue to observe traditional practices at home as coronavirus fears prevent religious gatherings

UCA News reporter, Negombo

UCA News reporter, Negombo

Published: April 09, 2020 10:09 AM GMT

Updated: April 09, 2020 10:11 AM GMT

Sri Lankan Catholics worry about Holy Week traditions

A memorial at St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo, bears the names of the martyrs who died in an attack by suicide bombers on Easter Sunday in 2019. (UCA News photo)

Gustina Anamaria dresses in black or white clothes with her children on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Somber colors are worn during mourning in Sri Lanka.

Like many Catholics in Negombo, Anamaria fasts and spends the day with her children in church on Good Friday every year. During Holy Week, fish or eggs are off the menu and only vegetables are eaten.

Anamaria, a mother of four, makes a cross with coconut leaves and displays it in her home to remember the crucifixion of Jesus. There are no palm leaves in Sri Lanka, so Catholics use coconut leaves on Palm Sunday for church processions.

“Families gather for Holy Hours when parish priests expose the most Blessed Sacrament for veneration on Maundy Thursday evening, but there will be no common gatherings this year,” said Anamaria.

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