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Easter Week

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, the last before Easter, commemorating Jesus riding into Jerusalem on his donkey. In Herefordshire four churches distribute Pax Cakes (biscuits) with the legend ‘Peace and Good Neighbourhood’. On Maundy Thursday the Queen visits one of Britain’s Anglican Cathedrals to give ‘alms’ to one male and one female senior citizen for every year of her age.

Good Friday, the holiest day in the ecclesiastical calendar, is appropriately represented by a Roman Catholic procession from Westminster Cathedral, and Hot Cross Buns, enjoyed by every denomination - indeed so much so that we can now enjoy them every day of the year. The buns feature in less holy happenings as they are handed out at the behest of Joshua Butterworth in the graveyard of St Bartholomew the Great in central London, or further east, when one is hung up in a dockland pub to await the return of ‘The Widow’s Son’. Holiness is discarded altogether by the marbles players of Tinsley Green, the Pace Eggers of the Calder Valley and the mob footballers in Workington.

Easter Saturday is the day of the unique Britannia Coconut Dancers in Bacup, and hymn singers in Market Harborough where, in 1786 William Hubbard died leaving a guinea to pay for the clergy and choir of St Mary in Arden church to sing hymns over his grave on Easter Eve. The church is now closed but the new parish is happy to oblige even though there are seldom many faithful to hear them.