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The Christian community across the globe is observing the holy week or Passion Week–one of the most important periods in the Christian calendar. The period is a sequence of eight days that provides an opportunity for the community to reflect on the transformation of humanity brought about by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

The week begins with Palm Sunday, the day Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem and it continues with Holy Thursday also called the Last Supper (Holy Communion), his crucifixion on Good Friday which is also known as Holy Friday or Black Friday, and culminates in Easter Sunday, which marks his resurrection.

Holy Thursday 

Holy Thursday is the fifth day of Holy Week, preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday. This year the Holy Thursday was observed on 28 March. Holy Thursday —also called Maundy Thursday—is the commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, when he established the sacrament of Holy Communion before his arrest and crucifixion. He introduced the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Christ also demonstrated his emphasis on service and humility by washing the feet of his disciples. Holy Communion, a sacrament essential to Christian devotion, is remembered and venerated on Maundy Thursday.

Four important things happened on this day: It marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum, three days of solemn worship in preparation for Christ’s Resurrection from the dead. Holy Thursday also marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum, three days of solemn worship in preparation for Christ’s Resurrection from the dead.

Good Friday

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus. This year the Good Friday is falling on March 29. This sombre day of fasting and penance invites Christians to reflect on what Jesus gave up to save humanity. Many churches participate in the Stations of the Cross, where members meditate on the events leading up to Jesus’ death.

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

On Good Friday, we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (1 John 1:10).

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday, which falls this year on March 29, commemorates the Harrowing of Hell while Jesus Christ’s body lay in the tomb. Christians await with great expectation as they get ready to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. Many churches have Easter Vigils—which is usually celebrated after sunset on Holy Saturday. During this ritual faithful congregate for readings, prayers, and the lighting of the Paschal Candle, which represents Christ’s light.

Easter Sunday

Easter is one of the most significant days on the Christian calendar. Easter Sunday—also known as Resurrection Day—celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter takes place three days after Jesus’s death on Good Friday. This holiday concludes the “Passion of Christ” series of holidays that began with Ash Wednesday. Families get together for feasts and celebrations, and churches host special services. Symbolising rebirth and fresh life, the Easter egg is a widely observed custom throughout this season.

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Published: 29 Mar 2024, 06:00 AM IST

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