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Holy Week and Easter, 2012

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Last week, Christians around the world celebrated Holy Week and Easter, commemorating the final days of Jesus Christ -- his return to Jerusalem, his crucifixion, and his resurrection. Families attended church services, hooded penitents took part in processions, and children hunted for Easter eggs. In Catholic passion plays, participants depicted Jesus' trial and death. Other local rituals drew heavily on earlier pre-Christian traditions. Collected here are images from several Holy Week and Easter activities this year. [38 photos]

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A penitent, representing Jesus Christ, participates in a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in Mazatlan, Mexico, on April 6, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer)
A penitent, representing Jesus Christ, participates in a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in Mazatlan, Mexico, on April 6, 2012. (Reuters/Stringer)
A Pakistani Christian girl attends Easter mass at St. John's Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, on April 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad) #
People watch as penitents carry a throne with a statue of Jesus Christ as they take part in the Sepulcro brotherhood procession during Holy Week in Malaga, Spain late April 6, 2012. Hundreds of processions take place around the clock in Spain during Holy Week, drawing thousands of visitors. (Reuters/Jon Nazca) #
Penitents walk next to a design made with colored wood dust before a Holy Week procession on Good Friday in Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, on April 6, 2012. The designs are made especially for the processions. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) #
British master chocolatier Paul Young places Easter eggs on chocolate bases before decorating them in the kitchen at his fine chocolates shop in central London, on April 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) #
Penitents light their candles as they take part in the Calvario brotherhood procession during Holy Week in Malaga, Spain, on 6, 2012. (Reuters/Jon Nazca) #
A girl dressed as Virgin Mary walks during a peregrination at Patzcuaro municipality, Michoacan, Mexico, during Good Friday, on April 6, 2012. (Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images) #
Catholics carry a statue of Jesus Nazareno during a procession known as "Jesus Nazareno of the tapes" during Holy Week in Cot de Cartago, Costa Rica, on April 4, 2012. According Jorge Masis, a priest of the church, this procession, where people tie ribbons to the statue to symbolize promises they make to Jesus during Holy Week, is a tradition that dates back 50 years ago. (Reuters/Juan Carlos Ulate) #
Catholic faithful hold torches as they attend the "O enterro do Senhor" procession during Holy Week in Obidos, Portugal, on April 6, 2012. (Reuters/Rafael Marchante) #
Volker Kraft decorates a tree with 10,000 Easter eggs in his garden in Saalfeld, Germany, on March 21, 2012. The Kraft family has been decorating their tree for Easter for more than forty years. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer) #
A man holds palm fronds during an outdoor Palm Sunday Mass at the earthquake damaged cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on April 1, 2012. Palm Sunday marks the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem, greeted by cheering crowds bearing palm fronds, and marks the start of Holy Week for Christians. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) #
Villagers take part in the burning of "El Judas" in the village of Villadiego, near Burgos, Spain, on April 7, 2012. "El Judas" symbolizes the negative omens associated with the village, and its burning means the village gets a clean slate for the fresh year. (Reuters/Felix Ordonez) #
An employee controls the quality of colored eggs on March 30, 2012 at the egg dye factory in Thannhausen, Germany. During the Easter season, the plant produces around 180,000 hard-boiled and dyed eggs daily. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/AFP/Getty Images) #
Women pray and sing on Easter Sunday service at an outdoor church on April 8, 2012 in Lilongwe, Malawi. (Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images) #
A masked Christian dressed as a devil, popularly known as "Talcigüin", participates in the celebration of an ancient local Catholic tradition that marks the start of Holy Week, on April 2, 2012 in Texistepeque, west of San Salvador, El Salvador. Talciguines pretend to lash Catholic faithful to cleanse their sins. (Jose Cabezas/AFP/Getty Images) #
Worshipers lead by Rev. Richard Veras (left), Pastor at St Rita's Parish in Staten Island, The Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio (center), Bishop of Brooklyn, and Frank Simmonds (right), leader of New York Community of Communion & Liberation, march over the Brooklyn Bridge in the 17th Way Of The Cross procession on April 06, 2012 in New York City. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images) #
Children run to collect Easter eggs in a park in Brussels, Belgium, on April 8, 2012, during an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest Easter egg hunt. (Reuters/Laurent Dubrule) #
The plaited mane of a horse is prepared for the Easter riders procession in Wittichenau near Bautzen, Germany, on April 7, 2012. Sorbians, a Slavic minority in eastern Germany, celebrate Easter Sunday with processions of mounted riders dressed in 19th-century outfits who travel from village to village to sing and announce the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Sorbians speak their own language, Sorbian, which is related to Czech and Polish, and maintain a culture rich in traditions, theatre, literature, poetry, education, media and crafts. Approximately 1,500 Sorbian men participate in the annual Easter riding. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images) #
Actors take part in a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) performance which commemorates Jesus Christ's crucifixion during Holy Week in Tanarandy, Paraguay, on April 6, 2012. (Reuters/Jorge Adorno) #
Colored chicks are sold during the run-up to Easter in downtown Amman, Jordan, on April 2, 2012. (Reuters/Ali Jarekji) #
Nadia Coppola joins pilgrims as they walk with crosses as the Northern Cross pilgrimage makes its final leg of the journey to Holy Island on April 6, 2012 in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England. More than 60 people, young and old, celebrated Easter by crossing the tidal causeway during the annual Christian pilgrimage. Every year people of all ages, from all over the world and from all realms of Christian life walk together at Easter to Holy Island. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images) #
Penitents of the Cofradia del Silencio wait for the start of their cofradia's Holy Week procession shortly before it was cancelled due to the rain, on April 4, 2012 in Zamora, Spain. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images) #
A bloodied penitent lies on the ground on the eve of the Good Friday reenactments of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Fernando City, north of Manila, on April 5, 2012. Despite the church advice to shun the practice, devout Filipinos self-flagellate as others prepared to be nailed to crosses as Asia's bastion of Catholicism gets set to mark Good Friday. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images) #
People stand around an Easter bonfire, an old German ethnic custom, in Elbingeroder, Germany, on April 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer) #
A girl wears an angel costume during Blood of Christ celebrations at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Managua, Nicaragua, on March 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix) #
A young penitent takes part in the procession of the "La Pasion del Senor" brotherhood, during Holy Week in Pamplona, Spain, on April 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #
People participate in a traditional procession of Good Friday known as "The Chained Ones" during Holy Week in Masatepe, Nicaragua, on April 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix) #
A penitent's hand is nailed to a wooden cross as part of a voluntary ritual to mark the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in the town of Paombong, north of Manila, Philippines, on April 6, 2012. Numerous penitents were nailed to crosses on Good Friday in this display of religious devotion. (Reuters/Romeo Ranoco) #
Catholic clergy walk holding candles during the Holy Thursday procession of the Washing of the Feet inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally believed to be the burial site of Jesus Christ, in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) #
Pope Benedict XVI holds a candle during the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday on April 7, 2012 at St Peter's basilica at The Vatican. (Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images) #
Romanian artist Lucia Condrea shows an egg she decorated at an exhibition at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe) #
An actor representing Jesus Christ participates in a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Playa Delfines (Dolphin Beach) on Good Friday in Cancun, Mexico, on April 6, 2012. (Reuters/Victor Ruiz Garcia) #
Penitents of "Santa Cruz" (Saint Cross) brotherhood walk to their church during Holy Week in the Andalusian capital of Seville, Spain, on April 3, 2012. (Reuters/Marcelo del Pozo) #
Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu baptizes a local churchgoer in a water tank during an Easter Saturday ceremony in York, England, on April 7, 2012. Baptism of adults by total immersion is a symbolic ritual signifying a believer's death to their old life and a re-birth in Christ. (Bethany Clarke/Getty Images) #
Relatives untie rope from Feliciano Isaac after walking the way of the cross or "Via Crucis" at the end of the procession of the "Empalaos" in Valverde de la Vera, Spain, on April 6, 2012. Empalaos make the steps of the "Via Crucis", marking the Stations of the Cross, during the night of Maundy Thursday while bound by rope to a crucifix as an act of penance and to honor a promise made to the Empalaos Brotherhood and the Christ of Vera Cruz. The process of dressing the Empalao in the traditional costume is taken with great care, with the family and dressers paying attention to ensure that no harm is caused to the penitent and that they are aided in their recovery. (David Ramos/Getty Images) #
Pope Benedict XVI waves as he makes his "Urbi et Orbi" (To the city and the world) address from a balcony in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, on April 8, 2012. (Reuters/Osservatore Romano) #
Women wearing traditional "mantillas" take part in the "Vineros" brotherhood procession on April 5, 2012 in Malaga, Spain, during Holy Week. (Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Christian worshiper holds a cross made from bread as he prays in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 6, 2012. (Reuters/Ammar Awad) #

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