This year, Passion Week will be held from April 2 to 8. This celebration occurs the week before Easter and commemorates the most sacred week in the history of Christianity. Beginning on Palm Sunday, and stretching across the week to Easter Sunday, this week marks Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and all the passionate events that occurred throughout the week, leading finally to his crucifixion, death, and resurrection. This week serves as a reminder to all Christians that anything can be accomplished if you put God first.
History of Passion Week
Passion Week is also known as ‘Holy Week’, and is celebrated to usher in Jesus Christ’s triumph over death. This week-long observance occurs the week before Easter, starting with Palm Sunday, and ending with a celebration on Easter Sunday. Various traditions in Christianity observe the sacred week. Holy Week occurs a week after the 40 days of Lent — it starts on the evening of Palm Sunday. While in Western Orthodox churches, Holy Week is observed on the sixth week of Lent — starting from Palm Sunday through to Easter Sunday. It is a moveable observance and occurs according to the appointed time for Easter that year.
This week marks the most sacred time in Jesus’s life. It starts with his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, where a hopeful crowd laid palm fronds on the ground before him, marking ‘Palm Sunday’. On ‘Holy Monday’, we celebrate other passionate activities of Jesus Christ, such as the cursing of the fig tree, cleansing of the temple, and the anointing of Jesus at Bethany. ‘Holy Tuesday’ is said to be the approximate day Jesus gave predictions of his death, and on ‘Holy Wednesday’ Judas’s betrayal of Jesus is remembered. The week comes to a climax on ‘Maundy Thursday’, where “The Last Supper” is commemorated and, in Western churches, the Lent period comes to an end.
This was also when Jesus predicted the events that will lead up to his death — his betrayal, the Denial of Peter, and his death and resurrection. ‘Good Friday’ follows to mark the crucifixion and death of Jesus, and the week finally ends with ‘Easter Sunday’. ‘Easter Monday’ falls after Holy Week and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Holy Week has been celebrated annually since the second half of the third century and is also called Passion Week to encompass the strong emotion and suffering of Jesus Christ.
Passion Week timeline
The earliest allusions to the marking of Passion Week are found.
A Gallic woman called Egeria makes the first record of the observance of the Holy Week.
The procession of people into churches while waving palm branches is added to the liturgy.
A statement is issued popularizing women washing their feet on Holy Thursday.
Passion Week FAQs
Why is Holy Week also called Passion Week?
Aside from representing strong emotion, the word ‘passion’ also stems from the Latin word ‘passio’, originally meaning ‘to endure suffering’. Therefore, the Passion Week not only represents the strong emotion of Jesus Christ, but also his suffering.
What is the significance of Holy Wednesday?
Holy Wednesday commemorates the bargaining Judas, a disciple of Jesus, had with the chief priests. It is also known as ‘Spy Wednesday’ because Judas acted as a clandestine spy among the disciples.
Why do we use palm fronds on Palm Sunday?
Palm Sunday significantly marks the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. On this day, hopeful spectators laid palm fronds on the floor to welcome Jesus on his donkey into Jerusalem. That is why the tradition is kept till today, paying homage to that triumphant moment.
How to Observe Passion Week
Attend church services
During Passion Week, Christian churches hold services sometimes all through the week. Spend your week getting more connected to the Spirit by attending these church services.
Participate in activities
Passion Week is a week-long observance packed with different sacred activities. From the waving of palm fronds on Palm Sunday to the application of ash on Ash Wednesday, there are so many things you can do to feel more connected to this holy week.
Study the Bible
The New Testament in the Bible gives a picture of the events that occurred in Jesus’s life within that week. Studying your Bible will help you understand the importance of this week and why it’s a cause for celebration.
5 Interesting Facts About Christianity
Palm Sunday is not just for palms
In places where it may be difficult to get palm leaves, leaves from yew, olive, willow, or other native trees are used.
Holy Wednesday has other cool names
Holy Wednesday can also be called ‘Spy Wednesday’ or ‘Ash Wednesday’.
Holy Saturday has a dark significance
In Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, Holy Saturday represents the harrowing of hell, when Jesus descended into Hades before his resurrection.
Not all protein was acceptable
In Medieval times, Christians would abstain from eating eggs and meat during Lent.
Easter was named after a goddess
Easter was named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess, Eostre, who ushers in the spring season.
Why Passion Week is Important
It commemorates the triumph of Jesus Christ
Passion Week marks the beginning of the triumphant victory of Jesus Christ over death. This is an occasion that gives hope to many Christians.
It is an important time for Christians
As mentioned, the Holy Week is the most monumental time in the Christian calendar. It is observed with due reverence and commemorates a series of events that display the power of God.
It tells an important story
Passion Week tells an important story of the time leading up to the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It also helps us understand the importance of one of the most celebrated times in the year — Easter.
Passion Week dates