What Is Holy Week?

Pope Francis Conducts The Palm Sunday Celebrations In St Peter's Square
Pope Francis conducts the Palm Sunday celebrations in St. Peter's Square. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Holy Week—also known as Great and Holy Week by the Eastern Catholics and orthodox—is the week preceding Easter and the final week of Lent. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. Holy Week includes Holy Thursday (also known as Maundy Thursday) and Good Friday, which, together with Holy Saturday, are known as the Triduum. Before the revision of the liturgical calendar in 1969, Holy Week was the second week of Passiontide; in the current calendar, Passiontide is synonymous with Holy Week.

Holy Week Significance

During Holy Week, Christians commemorate the Passion of Christ, who died on Good Friday in reparation for the sins of mankind, and rose on Easter Sunday to give new life to all who believe. Thus, while Holy Week is solemn and sorrowful, it also anticipates the joy of Easter through the recognition of God's goodness in sending his son to die for our salvation.

The Days of Holy Week:

Pronunciation: ˈhōlē wēk

Examples: "During Holy Week, the Catholic Church recalls the Passion of Christ by reading the accounts of His Death in the Gospels."

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Richert, Scott P. "What Is Holy Week?" Learn Religions, Apr. 5, 2023, learnreligions.com/what-is-holy-week-541521. Richert, Scott P. (2023, April 5). What Is Holy Week? Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-holy-week-541521 Richert, Scott P. "What Is Holy Week?" Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-holy-week-541521 (accessed June 1, 2023).