Holy Week 2021 begins on March 28, and for millions of Christians around the world, it’s a sacred time of remembrance and celebration. The different events of Holy Week follow the final days of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion, and what happens on the days of Holy Week is based on the Biblical gospels. The dates for when is Holy Week align with these stories and Jewish Passover, and it’s through these stories that scholars have determined the Holy Week timeline and the four main events: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. On these Holy Week days, Christians gather together in homes and churches to reflect on the meaning of the gospel story.
The first day of the Holy Week timeline is Palm Sunday, the day that Jesus returned to Jerusalem from his teachings throughout Israel. As he entered the city, followers gathered to welcome him, waving palm branches and using them to line the road before him. Holy Week 2021 begins with Palm Sunday, and the celebration is one of the most festive of all of what happens on the days of Holy Week. Churches are decorated with palm branches, and worshippers wave them during services. For Christians, it’s one of the events of Holy Week that fulfilled Biblical prophecy and reminds them of their hope in God.
In the Biblical gospel, Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish Passover, and it’s based on this date on the Jewish calendar that scholars determine when is Holy Week. On this night, Jesus began the tradition of washing his disciples’ feet and serving communion during the Last Supper. These rituals are remembered and often performed on Maundy Thursday, and it’s a somber day on the Holy Week timeline as it foreshadows Christ’s death.
One of the most important Holy Week days is Good Friday: the day of Jesus’s death. The gospels in the Bible tell the story of his trial and death, and while what happens on the days of Holy Week varies in different parts of the world, some churches and communities do full reenactments of this day, following the Via Dolorosa or the stations of the cross. Of all the events of Holy Week, Good Friday is the most somber, and you’ll see Christians dressed in black on this day.
The culmination of all the Holy Week days is Easter Sunday, a holiday celebrated by both Christians and non-Christians. According to the Bible, this was the day that Jesus rose from the dead and reappeared to his disciples, making Easter a celebration of faith, hope, and new life. The day begins with Sunday church services, and afterwards, families gather to share a meal. Some of the typical Easter Sunday activities include decorating eggs, giving Easter baskets, and hunting for Easter eggs.
As Holy Week 2021 approaches, it’s important to remember and reflect on the stories behind these days. No matter your religion, it’s a story of love and new life, and with the coming of spring, it’s truly an exciting time of year. As churches begin to countdown the days to when is Holy Week, make plans to experience these celebrations for yourself.