Explaining Holy Week

Easter is a significant holiday for Christians across the globe. Though Easter Sunday is when faithful Christians gather to celebrate their faith, the week preceding Easter Sunday is full of significant events as well.

Known as Holy Week, the week preceding Easter begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday, the day preceding Easter Sunday. Holy Week commemorates different events that unfolded over the final days of Jesus Christ’s life.

• Palm Sunday: According to Catholic Online, Palm Sunday celebrates the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. On the day of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, residents laid palms before him, which is why palms are distributed to the Christian faithful each year during Palm Sunday Mass. Palms are blessed at Mass, and many Christians turn their palms into crosses upon arriving home. The palms are eventually returned to the church, where they are burned, and the ashes of the palms are then used during the following year’s Ash Wednesday services.

• Holy Thursday: Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, when Jesus celebrated the Passover feast with his disciples. In the story of Jesus Christ, the night of the Last Supper was the same night that Jesus was betrayed by his disciple, Judas.

• Good Friday: Good Friday commemorates the trial, punishment and crucifixion of Christ. Though the official presiding over the trial of Jesus, Pontius Pilate, found no evidence of Jesus’s guilt in relation to the charges filed against him, he ultimately agreed to Christ’s crucifixion anyway in an effort to appease the crowd and avoid a riot. As a result, Christ was stripped, flogged and crowned with thorns before being made to carry his cross through the streets to the place where he was ultimately crucified. On Good Friday, the tabernacle inside Catholic churches is left empty to symbolize that Christ is departed.

• Holy Saturday: The final day of Holy Week, Holy Saturday is a day to remember that Christ descended into hell, where he preached the gospel and opened the way to heaven for all those who were worthy.

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