What Is Holy Week?
The week preceding Easter is known as Holy Week. It begins on Palm Sunday and is traditionally a week of careful reflection on the events preceding Jesus’ death: his triumphant entry into Jerusalem; his betrayal by Judas; his Last Supper with his twelve apostles; his arrest, crucifixion and death; and his burial in a tomb.
What Is Palm Sunday?
On Palm Sunday, Christians celebrate Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem, which occurred some days before his death. According to the gospels, the people of Jerusalem spread branches on the road —identified specifically as palm branches in John's gospel— and cheered to welcome Jesus as he rode into the city on a donkey.
On Palm Sunday the liturgy traditionally starts with a procession to commemorate this. Worshippers receive palm fronds made into the shape of the cross and gather at a place outside (weather permitting) where the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is read and the procession begins. During the worship, a gospel account of the Passion is read.
This juxtaposes the joyful welcome from the crowds that Jesus received on one day, with his betrayal, arrest, and brutal execution just a few days later.
What Is Holy Thursday?
On Holy Thursday (also called Maundy Thursday) Christians commemorate the Last Supper—a Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples the night before his death. During the meal, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples as an example of humble service for them to copy, he prayed for the unity of his followers, and he broke bread and offered his followers wine, saying “This is my body, given up for you”, thus instituting the sacrament of the Eucharist.
What Is the Passion?
Though today the word “passion” has romantic connotations, it was originally derived from the Latin word passio, meaning suffering. In religious contexts, the Passion (often capitalised) refers to the torture, crucifixion, and death of Jesus.
What Is Good Friday?
Christians observe Good Friday (for Eastern Orthodox Christians, “Great and Holy Friday”) as the day Jesus was crucified and died. It is the most solemn day on the Christian calendar. On Good Friday, customarily Christians abstain from meat, or refrain from food altogether. They attend special church services that include readings from the gospel stories of Jesus' Passion, Jesus' last words, and other Bible passages.
What Is the Paschal Triduum?
For Catholics and Anglicans, the Paschal Triduum is the name given to the 3-day period marking Jesus' Passion, death, burial and resurrection.
The Triduum begins on Holy Thursday and concludes as Easter begins. Christians observe the Triduum by attending a worship service on each day, including the the most important service of the whole year, the Easter Vigil on the night leading into Easter Sunday.
What Is Easter?
Easter is the most important Christian festival: it is a week of Easter Days and a season of fifty days in celebration of Jesus rising from the dead to new life. Easter symbolises forgiveness, rebirth, and God’s saving power. Christians view the day as a victory over sin, death, and all destructive forces in people’s lives.