On Good Friday, hot
cross buns symbolize
This year, Holy Week is observed by the Christian church beginning on Palm Sunday, April 2, 2023 and ends on Saturday, April 8, 2023 -- the day before Easter Sunday - commemorating the last days of Jesus' earthly life.
Around the world, special foods are served based on the traditional Lenten meatless fast, and festivities are held throughout the entire week in preparation for Easter Sunday.
In Spain, Mexico and many other Latin countries, Semana Santa - Holy Week - is a time of processions, candlelight services and other religious traditions.
The Days of Holy Week
The most important days of Holy Week begin with Palm Sunday, the week before Easter, commemorating Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem during the Passover celebration.
On Holy Monday, the cleansing of the temple is usually commemorated, retelling the story of Jesus' righteous anger at merchants and money lenders in the temple, who gathered there to do business instead of worship. Based on Biblical references, it was the only public display of anger exhibited by Jesus in his lifetime.
In North America, Holy Tuesday is traditional given over to selected readings from the Old and New Testament including John 13:21 that predicts Jesus' death in his own words. Especially in Spain and Latin America, somber religious processions are also a tradition on this day
Holy Wednesday observances usually include Bible readings that tell of the gathering storm before Christ's death when the Sanhedrin plotted to kill Jesus before the feast of Passover. In reference to Judas Iscariot's part in the betrayal of Jesus, the day is sometimes called "Spy Wednesday".
Holy Week in art - Left to right: the entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday by Giotto; Holy Thursday
at 'The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci; Good Friday "The Crucifixion" by Simon Vouet; Holy
Saturday "Entombment of Christ" by Titian; and Easter Sunday "The Resurrection of Christ" by Noel Coypel.
Holy Thursday is devoutly observed because that was the day in
which Christ and his followers gathered for the Jewish Passover Seder. For Christians, this was the "Last Supper" during which Christ instituted the Christian concept of sharing
communion. That evening, Christ would endure the "Agony in the Garden" in which he prayed for strength to perform his ultimate act of sacrifice - death by crucifixion. Christ's fate was sealed in the garden when he was found and betrayed at the hands of one of his own followers, Judas Iscariot, for 40 pieces of silver.
Friday, one of the most somber days in the Christian calendar, marks the day of Christ's crucifixion.. Today, many Christians observe the hours between noon
and 3 PM with silence, prayer and meditation on the Passion
of Christ. In the Roman Catholic church in many areas, the devout visit three different
churches during this time and pray at the "Stations of the Cross" at each church.
Holy Saturday commemorates the day Christ remained buried in a tomb, the darkest day for early Christians. Since
Jewish law would not allow any of the preparations for burial on the Sabbath, the tomb was closed to keep the body safe until the mourners returned on Sunday.
When Christ's mother Mary returned to the tomb in the morning to prepare the body of Christ for burial, the tomb was open -- and an angel proclaimed that Christ had been miraculously resurrected!
Easter Sunday is the celebration of the joyous news of Christ's triumphant victory over death.
More about Holy Week & Easter around the Web:
On Line Resources for Holy Week - Check out a virtual online encyclopedia of every top resource on the subject including related art & music, activity ideas, and Passover/Seder resources.
The Days of Holy Week - Here's more on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter including related Biblical quotes.