Thiruvananthapuram: It's been an experience that has never happened before as Christian's in Kerala , on Friday was seen either glued to online streaming or engaged in small prayers at one's home , as the Good Friday mass in churches on account of Covid-19 spread has been limited to just five , including the priest and his associates.
Incidentally today's mass symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Calvary Hills nearly 2,000 years ago.
For the Christian's, today, on a normal Good Friday day, Churches across the state would be overflowing and is often recorded as the most crowdest day in a Church calendar.
Likewise this is one day, which sees the longest service as in some Churches this mass that begins around 8 am ends as late as 3.30 pm, while in most it ends around 1 p.m.
Three events stand out on this day and it includes the 'Way of the Cross' - the 14 stations on Christ's Journey to Mount Calvary from Pilate's palace .
The chief priest who conducts the day's mass, along with a large number of the laity re-enact Jesus journey with the worshippers moving to each station singing hymns as the story of the betrayal, arrest, trial and crucifixion of Christ is narrated by the priest.
This time, however would be only a symbolic event.
The second most important ritual in the mass today is the drinking of the 'choruka' (a decoction made of bitter gourd juice and vinegar) by all.
When the 'Good Friday' mass reaches its last lap, the priest pours out a spoon of 'Choruka' into the mouth of each and every person who has come for the mass.
This symbolises the cry, a crucified Jesus made just before he died, and how some of those watching took a piece of cloth, dipped it in cheap wine,put it on a piece of stick, lifted it to his mouth and tried to make him drink.
This time, it would be given to just the five who conduct the mass.
The third feature of the day is after the mass ends ,'kanji' - the hot steaming hotAgruel made with rice is served in bowls with mango pickle and a serving of pulses.
Incidentally this also will not happen.
Of the 33.4 million Kerala population, Christians number 61.41 lakhs (29.94 lakhs males and 31.47 lakhs females.