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What Is Holy Week?

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Pope Francis Conducts The Palm Sunday Celebrations In St Peter's Square
Christopher Furlong / Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Definition: Holy Week 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.

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.

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The Days of Holy Week:

Pronunciation: ˈhōlē wēk

Also Known As: Great and Holy Week (used by the Eastern Catholics and Orthodox)

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

FAQs About Lent:

More FAQs About Lent:

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