Holy Week

In some traditions of Christianity, Holy Week (Latin: Hebdomas Sancta or Hebdomas Maior, lit. 'Greater Week'; Greek: Ἁγία καὶ Μεγάλη Ἑβδομάς, romanized: Hagia kai Megale Hebdomas, lit.'Holy and Great Week') is the most sacred week in the Church year. In Eastern Rite Churches, also known as Eastern Orthodox, Holy Week occurs the week after Lazarus Saturday and starts on the evening of Palm Sunday. In the rites of the Western/Latin/Roman Church it begins with Palm Sunday and concludes on Easter Sunday. For all Christian traditions it is a moveable observance. In Eastern Rite Churches, Holy Week starts after 40 days of Lent and two transitional days, namely Saturday of Lazarus (Lazarus Saturday) and Palm Sunday. In Western Rite Churches, Holy Week falls on the last week of Lent or Sixth Lent Week.[1][2]

Holy Week
The entry of Jesus and His disciples into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, is the last or sixth week of Lent, between Palm Sunday and The dusk of Maundy Thursday. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Palm Sunday along with the Saturday of Lazarus marks the two-day transition between the 40 days of Great Lent and Holy Week.
TypeChristian
ObservancesPalm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday
DateLast week of Lent
2020 date
  • April 5 – April 11 (Western)
  • April 12 – April 18 (Eastern)
2021 date
  • March 28 – April 3 (Western)
  • April 25 – May 1 (Eastern)
2022 date
  • April 10 – April 16 (Western)
  • April 17 – April 23 (Eastern)
2023 date
  • April 2 – April 8 (Western)
  • April 9 – April 15 (Eastern)
FrequencyAnnual
Related toEastertide

Holy Week begins with the commemoration of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, climaxing with the commemoration of the Mystical or Last Supper on Holy or Maundy Thursday and the Passion of Jesus on Holy or Good Friday. Holy Week concludes with Christ's rest in death and descent into Hades on Holy or Good Saturday.

In the Eastern Rite, the Western/Latin/Roman Rite & Protestant traditions, it is believed Jesus rested in death from the ninth hour (3 pm) on Good Friday until just before dawn on Sunday morning, the day of his resurrection from death, commonly known as Easter Sunday. For the Eastern Rite Church, this marks the beginning of a new week, Easter Week (Bright Week), and the season of Eastertide.

Holy Week liturgies generally attract the largest crowds of the year. Many Christian cultures have different traditions such as special liturgies or services, floats, sculptures or live reenactments of Christ's life, his arrest and crucifixion (also called the Lord's passion, the Passion of Christ or Passion of Jesus). In Eastern Rite Churches there are also many means to commemorate the Great Feasts and emphasize the theme of resurrection.[3] Many television stations in Anglophone countries air films related to Holy Week, such as The Ten Commandments, The Greatest Story Ever Told and The Jesus Film.[4]