!! Week of observances !!
Religious ceremonies, some solemn, some joyous, took place around the world this week. Holy Week is observed by many different Christians before Easter. The Jewish holiday of Passover is celebrated for a week, and the New Year festivals of Vaisakhi and Thinhyan were also observed.
An Indian Sikh pilgrim parades on April 13 in Bobigny, near Paris, during celebrations for Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year Festival, which also commemmorates the founding of the Khalsa (Sikh community) by the tenth Guru (Guru Gobind Singh) in 1699.
indian Sikhs watch a procession on April 13 in Bobigny, near Paris, during celebrations for Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year Festival.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews watch others collecting spring water during the traditional Jewish rite of "Mayim Shelanu" near Jerusalem April 13. The water is used to prepare matza, traditional unleavened bread eaten during the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover.
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish youth burns leavened items in final preparations for the Passover holiday in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish town of Bnei Brak, Israel near Tel Aviv on April 14. Jews are forbidden to eat leavened foodstuffs during the Passover holiday that celebrates the biblical story of the Israelites' escape from slavery and exodus from Egypt.
ltra-Orthodox Jews knead dough in a matzah bakery in the Belz Hasidic dynasty in Jerusalem, Israel, April 14 , as part of the preparation for the high holiday of Passover at sunset this evening. Religious Jewish families as well store and restaurant owners removed all traces of 'chametz' (unleavened food) prior to the Passover feast, which commemorates the Israelites' exodus from ancient Egypt.
Israeli Jewish worshippers light candles as they perform a ceremony for Passover in Kathmandu on April 14. Hundreds of Jewish travelers in Kathmandu attended what organisers claim was the world's biggest Passover celebration, as food supplies delayed for weeks due to a diplomats' strike arrived just hours before the feast.
Masked faithfuls dressed as a devil, popularly known as "Talciguin", take part in the celebration of an ancient local tradition marking the start of Holy Week, on April 14, in Texistepeque, some 84 km west of San Salvador, El Salvador. Talciguines lash Catholic faithfuls to cleanse their sins.
Orthodox Christian women put their heads down on a marble stone inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City during Holy Week, April 15. The ancient church is the accepted place of Jesus Christ's crucifixion, burial and resurrection. This years Roman Catholics and all the Christian Orthodox faiths celebrate Holy Week at the same time and Jerusalem's Old City is filled with faithful and pilgrims
Catholics leave the San Antonio de Padua church with a statue of Jesus Nazareno, for a procession known as "Jesus Nazareno of the tapes", during Holy Week in Cot de Cartago, Costa Rica, April 16. According to Jorge Masis, a priest at the church, people tie ribbons to the statue to symbolize promises they make to Jesus during Holy Week
Young penitents parade during a Holy Week procession in the northern Spanish Basque village of Segura on April 17.
Pilgrims walk across a tidal causeway while carrying crosses during the final leg of the Northern Cross pilgrimage to Holy Island in Northumbria, northern England April 18. For more than thirty years Christians have taken part in the pilgrimage to Holy Island, walking through Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, during Holy Week.
A dozen barefoot sweepers clear the streets with brooms ahead a procession of Indian Sikh pilgrim on April 13, in Bobigny, near Paris, during celebrations for Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year Festival.