What is Holy Week? Week Before Easter - Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday

For most Christians, the upcoming week will be a time of remembrance and celebration. Holy Week is a part of the Lenten season and is the week before Easter.

The Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, which falls on April 9 this year. The period lasts until Holy Saturday, April 15, which is the Saturday before Easter Sunday, April 16. The week includes Good Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Palm Sunday
Cardinals hold palm branches at the start of the Palm Sunday mass led by Pope Francis at Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, March 20, 2016. |

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before the Friday Passover on which Jesus was crucified. The day signifies the time Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem, where he was welcomed by the people as their Savior. However, he would soon be betrayed and crucified by the same people who worshipped him.

The day takes its name from the tradition of using palm branches in acting out Jesus' entrance in Jerusalem. It is said that the people threw palm branches at his feet upon his arrival.

On Maundy Thursday, Christians remember the Last Supper--when Jesus had his last meal with his disciples. The day is also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday and Thursday of Mysteries. It is the beginning of a solemn three-day period of remembrance. Traditions that are reenacted at this time include the washing of feet.

According to scripture, Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of his disciples, and subsequently arrested. He was then tried and sentenced to crucifixion. Good Friday is observed in remembrance of this time. It is a day of somber commemoration.

Holy Saturday symbolizes the day Jesus Christ's body lay in his tomb. For this reason, it is also quite solemn. This day marks the last day of the Holy Week, which is immediately followed by Easter Sunday, a day of celebration.

On Easter Sunday, Christ's Resurrection is remembered and a joyous celebration occurs. 

Free CP Newsletters

Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers!