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Christians around the world pause to mark Holy Week before Easter

Holy Week, from Palm Sunday through Easter, is a sacred time for Christians around the world, with each day leading up to Sunday having special significance. Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches remember the passion of Jesus in various ways.

Palm Sunday looked back at the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week are known as Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday, but in Western Christianity, these days do not have widespread particular traditions or liturgy associated with them.

Wednesday of Holy Week is known as both Holy Wednesday and Spy Wednesday, because this was the day that Judas made arrangements to betray Jesus, according to the National Catholic Register. Today, many churches typically offer a Tenebrae service on Spy Wednesday. Tenebrae, which means “darkness” or “shadows,” is a service that focuses on the passion of Jesus and dates back to medieval times.

“The service includes a series of scripture readings commemorating Jesus’ final week, ending with his burial,” according to the diocese of Portland, Maine. At the conclusion of each reading, a candle is snuffed out until the final candle is carried out

Holy Thursday is the first day of the Paschal Triduum and commemorates the last supper. It also is known as “Maundy Thursday” in some traditions. Christians believe that at the last supper, Jesus instituted the new covenant and celebrated the first communion.

Good Friday is the day Christians believe that Jesus was sentenced to death and crucified. It is called “Good Friday” in English because the term “good” is synonymous with “holy,” Dictionary.com says

Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, is the day that Jesus — his body in the tomb — descended into hell for the harrowing of hell in the Orthodox tradition. That evening, Holy Week shifts dramatically as the focus is now on the imminent resurrection of Jesus.

Easter Sunday, of course, is a day celebrating the resurrection of Jesus in his victory over the grave. It is the holiest day of the year in all of Christianity.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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