Holy Week & Easter Ceremonies of Christian Arabs, Antakya - April.2012


Humanity Photo Award held by UNESCO & CFPA  "Traditional Rites" Section, China 2013 

One of the best 100 projects in the World held by "Global Institute For Tomorrow", Hong Kong 2013

Orthodox Christians who live in Antakya approximately for 2000 years, celebrate the Easter Holiday with excitement. Different rituals organize in the last holy week of 50 days of fasting. After the flower fest on the 08th April 2012, which celebrated the arrival of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem; his arrest, judgment, and crucifixion remember with prays and rituals. The Easter ceremony which has started with the candle lights at 5.00 a.m. with the arrival of the Holy Light from Jerusalem on the 15th April 2012, and it has concluded with the shatter of the colorful eggs which represent the rise of Jesus Christ from the grave. I witnessed some local cultures taking part in Holy Week ceremonies. An example is the blessing of the daphne tree and olive oil during the holy week ceremonies in Antakya. I did not come across these two rituals in the Easter ceremonies I photograph elsewhere. It has integrated local cultures inside its rituals in different places in order to be more easily adopted by Christianity. Antakya is a good example of this. Both the daphne and the olive are important products of the region and have an important place in social life.