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Christian pilgrims march through Jerusalem for Good Friday

The faithful carried wooden crosses high on their shoulders and sang hymns to mark one of Christianity’s most solemn and sacred days.

Christian form the boys scouts movement (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Christian form the boys scouts movement (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Thousands of Christian pilgrims and clergy members have marched through the ancient stone alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City, retracing Jesus’s path to crucifixion in observation of Good Friday.

The faithful carried wooden crosses high on their shoulders and sang hymns to mark one of Christianity’s most solemn and sacred days.

The confluence of Good Friday and the Jewish holiday of Passover this year led to flocks of tourists and a festive atmosphere in the holy city.

Worshippers from all over the world marched slowly along the Via Dolorosa, the cobblestone path that cuts through the limestone-walled Old City, where tradition says Jesus bore the cross to his crucifixion.

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Christian worshippers pray along the Via Dolorosa (Ariel Schalit/AP)

The pilgrims stopped at several points on the way, re-enacting symbolic moments from Jesus’s story.

The procession culminates at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe Jesus was buried before his resurrection on what is celebrated as Easter Sunday.

Meanwhile, Jewish residents were rushing to complete their preparations for the ritual Seder dinner as the first night of Passover approached.

In the Mahane Yehuda outdoor market, shoppers swarmed the stalls, filling their bags with ingredients for the holiday feast.

Many observant Jews cleaned their homes of “chametz”, or leavened wheat, traditionally forbidden during the eight days of Passover in commemoration of the Jewish people’s flight from slavery in Egypt, which did not allow time for dough to rise into bread.

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement, one of the world’s largest Jewish religious organisations, has arranged Passover Seders in more than 100 countries for Jews who seek them, even in some far-flung corners of the globe, such as Congo and rural Australia.

At sundown, Jews will gather around dinner tables to retell the Passover story that celebrates their deliverance from slavery in Old Testament times.

PA

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