Johnsons' Christmas Corner

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Holy Week

Holy Week, a sacred period in the Christian calendar, unfolds in the days leading up to Easter Sunday. It encompasses the seven days from Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday, during which Christians commemorate the final week of Jesus Christ before His crucifixion. Let’s delve into the origins and rituals of this significant observance:

Holy Week

Palm Sunday: The earliest known record of Holy Week observance, including Palm Sunday, dates back to the late 4th century. A nun named Egeria documented her pilgrimage to the Holy Land, describing the scene in Jerusalem. On this day, Christians reenact Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem by waving palm branches and singing hymns. The liturgy today mirrors the Gospel accounts, with three main forms of practice: the procession, where participants carry branches into the church, symbolizing welcome and delight at Jesus’ arrival1.

Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday): This day commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus shared bread and wine with His disciples. The term “Maundy” originates from the Latin word “mandatum,” meaning commandment. Jesus’ command to love one another is central to this day. In some traditions, the washing of feet symbolizes humility and service, echoing Jesus’ act of washing His disciples’ feet1.

Good Friday: On this solemn day, Christians reflect on Jesus’ crucifixion and death. The Stations of the Cross allow believers to retrace His final steps, contemplating His sacrifice. Good Friday services often include readings, prayers, and veneration of the cross. It’s a time of deep reverence and mourning1.

Holy Saturday: Also known as Easter Eve, this day marks the period between Jesus’ death and resurrection. Churches hold Easter Vigil services, celebrating the anticipation of Christ’s triumph over death. The lighting of the Paschal candle symbolizes the risen Christ, dispelling darkness and bringing hope1.

Throughout history, Holy Week observances have evolved, spreading across different regions and denominations. From Spain to Gaul, England to Rome, believers participate in the passion of Jesus Christ, reliving His final moments. As we approach Easter, let us engage in these ancient rituals, connecting with the profound significance of redemption and renewal3..


The Origins and Meanings of the Major Holy Week Rituals | TIME
An Introduction to the Holy Week – Catholic News Agency
Holy Week | Meaning & Events | Britannica
Holy Week – Wikipedia