Thiruvananthapuram, April 6 - Christians across Kerala observed Good Friday across churches, and like every year three important rituals remained unchanged.
Good Friday is observed as a day of prayer, penance and fasting to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ nearly 2,000 years ago.
The most important event associated with it is 'Way of the Cross', a re-enactment of the travel through 14 stations during Christ's Journey to Mount Calvary from Pilate's Palace.
Worshippers move to each station singing hymns as the story of betrayal, arrest, trial and crucifixion of Christ is narrated by the priest.
The second significant ritual in all churches is the drinking of choruka, a decoction made of bitter gourd juice and vinegar.
This symbolises the incident when Jesus, while on the cross, called out, and hearing his cries some of those watching the event took a piece of cloth, dipped it in cheap wine, put it on a piece of stick and lifted it to his mouth and tried to make him drink.
Choruka is poured into the faithful's mouth by priests.
Yet another equally important event on Good Friday is the drinking of kanji immediately after the long mass.
The steaming hot gruel made of watery rice called kanji is served with pulses and pickle. Everyone who comes to the church makes it a point to have at least one serving of this gruel prepared in the church compound itself.
The Good Friday mass begins around 8 a.m in the morning and the longest service is for the Orthodox Church where it ends at 3 p.m.
Christians account for 23 percent of Kerala's 32 million population. A large percentage of Christians live in the central Kerala districts of Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam and Trissur.
The maximum crowds were seen in the cities as this is one day when non-regular church goers also make it a point to come.