Holy Week (Palm Sunday – Holy Saturday)
Holy week is the week before Easter Sunday, Christians all over the world commemorate the last few days of Jesus Christ on earth. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday. The last week of Lent includes Holy Wednesday (Spy Wednesday), Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), and Good Friday (Holy Friday).
What is Lent
Lent is observed as 40 days before Easter (excluding Sunday), beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Maundy Thursday. It is a time of fasting from both foods and festivities and three practices of Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving are observed. Lent is a season of penitence that ends with a celebration of Easter. Holy week begins with the sixth Sunday in Lent. This Sunday is observed as the triumphal entry of Jesus entry into Jerusalem.
When is Holy Week
Holy Week is between Palm Sunday and Holy Saturday. It includes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday which have special observances in churches. Holy Week in 2023 is from April 2 (Palm Sunday) and ends on April 8 (Holy Saturday).
Palm Sunday – 2nd April 2023
The Holy Week begins with the Palm Sunday celebration that leads to Easter. As Jesus rode into a bursting Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover festival, people were so moved they laid down palm branches and clothes in front to honor him. Back then, palm branches were symbols of triumph and victory and created the atmosphere of a modern-day ticker-tape parade. In some churches, palm branches or palm crosses, made from palm leaves, are given out to everyone. In some other churches, the children will make crosses from strips of paper. Many churches will have a procession in or around the church while people sing songs of praise and wave palm leaves.
Holy Wednesday – 5th April 2023
Traditionally this day was called “Spy Wednesday” because it was on this Wednesday before the crucifixion that Judas conspired to hand Jesus over. The “spy” in Spy Wednesday means Judas. Judas was a spy for the chief priests who wanted to kill Jesus. Indeed, this betrayal was foretold at the Last Supper. Christians on this day remember that Jesus was betrayed by Judas, a clandestine spy among the disciples for 30 pieces of silver.
Maundy Thursday – 6th April 2023
This marks the beginning of the sacred Triduum or “three days.” The Triduum includes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. It ends at sundown on Easter. Earlier this day Jesus had given instructions to the disciples on how to prepare for this holiest meal, which will be his last supper. During the last supper, according to the Bible, Jesus rose from the table and washed the feet of his disciples. This is a Christian rite known as ‘Maundy’. Some priests wash the feet of church attendees on the date as part of their service, as a reminder of Jesus’s actions.
Good Friday – 7th April 2023
All through the night, Jesus has been locked in the dungeon of the high priest’s house. Early this morning he was bought before Pilate who transferred his case to Herod. Herod sent him back to Pilate who, sometime in the mid-morning, bowed to the pressure of the Temple leadership and the crowds, and condemned Jesus to a horrible death by crucifixion. On Good Friday Churches observe this day to mark the suffering, crucifixion, and death of Jesus Christ.
Holy Saturday – 8th April 2023
Holy Saturday is the day between the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ it is also known as Black Saturday, White Saturday, Easter Eve, Vigil of Easter. Holy Saturday commemorates the day when Jesus’ body lay in the tomb after his crucifixion on Good Friday and before his resurrection on Easter Sunday. While Good Friday is a traditional day of fasting, some also fast on Saturday as the climax of the season of Lent.
Easter Sunday – 9th April 2023
On Easter Sunday, we remember and celebrate the triumphal Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! Easter morning is a celebration of rebirth and the renewal of life. It is the most important Christian festival, and the one celebrated with the greatest joy.
Jesus Christ was executed by crucifixion on Good Friday, his body was taken down from the cross, and buried in a cave. On the following Sunday, some women visited the grave and found that the stone had been moved and that the tomb was empty. Jesus was seen that day and days afterward by his followers and they realized that God had raised Jesus from the dead. For Easter Sunday, many cultures have developed traditions such as Easter eggs, bread, and other foods to signal the themes of resurrection and new life.
The Easter holiday marks the end of Lent — a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and sacrifice — as well as Holy Week. And while it’s fun to celebrate the holiday with lavish brunches, beautiful Easter baskets, joyful egg hunts, and delicious chocolate bunnies, Easter prayers can help Christians remember the true meaning of the day.