Christians around the world are prepping to celebrate the Holy Week and Easter, commemorating the final days of Jesus Christ - his return to Jerusalem, his crucifixion, and his resurrection. Families attend church services, hooded penitents take part in processions, and children hunt for Easter eggs. In Catholic passion plays, participants depict Jesus’ trial and death. Other local rituals draw heavily on earlier pre-Christian traditions. Collected here are images from several Holy Week and Easter activities this year.
Revelers hold flares during pre-Easter celebrations in the city of Agrinio, Greece, late Good Friday. The celebration, known as "saitopolemos" in Greek, dates back to Greece's 1821-32 war of independence against the Ottoman Empire. (Petros Giannakouris/Associated Press)
A woman makes the sign of the cross in a church in Minsk, Belarus during a Palm Sunday service. (Viktor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images)
Coptic Orthodox Christians attend a mass on Easter Sunday in a church in Cairo, Egypt, on April 23, 2011. (Reuters/Asmaa Waguih)
A view of St. Peter's square during the Palm Sunday celebration led by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman runs as men throw water at her as part of traditional Easter celebrations in Holloko, Hungary, 100 km (62 miles) east of Budapest. Locals from the World Heritage village of Holloko celebrate Easter with this traditional "watering of the girls," a tribal fertility ritual rooted in the area's pre-Christian past. (Reuters/Laszlo Balogh)
A man performs as a devil during a Holy Week Via Crucis in Masaya, Nicaragua (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
A man plays guitar in the earthquake-ravaged Cathedral of Port-au Prince, Haiti, before the Easter Eucharist. (Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images)
Clergymen participate in the traditional Palm Sunday procession on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and is the start of the Christian Holy Week. (Tara Todras-Whitehill/Associated Press)
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, 32 km (20 miles) from San Jose, 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 (Photo by Juan Carlos Ultae/Reuters)
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