MIAMI BEACH, Fla., April 9 (UPI) -- Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States and around the world celebrated their only religious holiday Thursday, marking Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples.
The day, Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday to many other Christians, is known as Memorial or Lord's Evening Meal to Jehovah's Witnesses. Jesus, Christians believe, was crucified the next day.
''It's a happy time because his death provided the opportunity for everlasting life,'' Willie Tatum, an elder in Miami Beach, Fla., told The Miami Herald.
There are about 7 million Jehovah's Witnesses around the world. The group started in a Bible study group in Pennsylvania more than a century ago.
While the Jehovah's Witnesses consider themselves Christian and believe Jesus is their savior, they consider Christmas and Easter pagan celebrations. They don't celebrate Holy Communion during regular services but during Memorial bread and wine are distributed, although only those who are sure they are saved partake of them.
The Kingdom Hall where Tatum is a member scheduled six services for Memorial and expects a total of 1,000 people to attend, the Herald said.