A Month of Passion

April is a month full of special events and observances.  This month begins with the Christian Holy Week or "Passion Week" and Palm Sunday on the first of April, then Passover on the third, followed by Good Friday on the sixth and ending with Easter on the eighth. 

The first Palm Sunday took place sometime between AD 27 to AD 33.  The day memorializes the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  People lined the streets, put their garments on the road in front of him, shouted praises and waved the branches of palm trees as he rode through on a donkey. Soon after this, Jesus met with his 12 disciples for the Jewish observance of Passover.  At this meal, Judas Iscariot was pointed out as the one who would later betray Jesus.  Later that evening, Jesus and his disciples went to the Mount of Olives and Jesus told his disciples to pray as he would also be in prayer close by.  After this, Jesus was speaking and a crowd which was led by Judas approached.  The betrayal of Jesus ensued when a kiss on the cheek from Judas signaled the soldiers to arrest Jesus.

After Jesus was arrested, he was taken to the house of the Jewish high priest, Caiaphas.  Caiaphas questioned Jesus and then turned him over to Pilate, who was the governor of the Roman Judea Province.  Pilate could find no civil law on which to charge Jesus with a crime and sent him to Herod.  Herod had wanted to see Jesus for sometime as he had heard that Jesus performed miracles and he wanted to see a miracle performed.  When Jesus would not perform any miracles, Herod and his soldiers began to ridicule and mock him.  Then he sent Jesus back to Pilate and Pilate announced to the crowds that neither he nor Herod could find any reason to press charges against Jesus.  However, the Jewish people felt that Jesus had committed blasphemy. They had a tradition to crucify a criminal and to release a criminal after the Passover.  There was a murderer named Barabbas that the civil authorities wanted to crucify, but the crowds called for the release of Barabbas and for Jesus to be crucified instead.  Reluctantly, Pilate finally bowed to the demands of the crowd, Jesus was led to the crucifixion and Barabbas was released to the people. 

The crucifixion took place at Calvary and Good Friday commemorates the actual crucifixion.  The following Sunday is Easter, which is celebrated by Christians because they believe that Jesus resurrected from the dead on the third day after the crucifixion.  Christians gather on Easter to celebrate the resurrection in churches and sunrise services all over the world. 

There are also secular observances with Easter eggs, the Easter bunny and Easter candy.  Even the White House gets in on the tradition with the annual Easter Egg Roll, scheduled for April 9th of this year.  There will be many worldwide events of both the secular and religious aspects of Easter.

Earth Day, which is another global event, takes place on April 22nd this year.  Earth Day is set aside to address environmental issues.  At the top of the agenda is the topic of global warming.  Although there is controversy among scientists regarding whether or not global warming actually exists, most scientists agree that governments and individuals need to be proactive in addressing this issue.  Al Gore is leading the charge in educating the public about what can be done to combat the effects of global warming.  Gore met with the United States Congress to discuss the need for federal action and his passion concerning this cause on March 22nd, 2007.

In keeping with the call for active participation in regard to the environment, Arbor Day is set aside to inspire people to plant trees.  The National Arbor Day Foundation has many events scheduled for Arbor Day on April 27th. Enterprise Rent-A-Car has partnered with the foundation to plant 50 million trees over the next 50 years.  Home Depot has sponsored the 1000 trees in 10 Cities initiative to increase awareness for green infrastructure in urban areas.  The cities participating in 2007 include Miami, San Antonio, Atlanta, Portland, Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Chicago, Sacramento and Minneapolis.

Cities all over the United States will host concerts. The concert tour line-up includes some comebacks from artists in the past such as Billy Joel and U2.  Country music fans will enjoy a special treat with Tim McGraw and wife Faith Hill who have teamed up for their Soul 2 Soul tour.  Gwen Stefani and Beyonce are at the top of the list for those with a passion for pop music.

On the sports front, the National Basketball Association will begin playoff games in mid April.  Opening day for Major League Baseball is April 1, 2007. 

Overall April is a month full of activities and events covering a broad range of passions and interests.  Even those who enjoy pulling practical jokes have a special day this month and that is no April Fool!

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