before Easter Day is known as Holy Week. It begins on Palm Sunday
and ends on Saturday, the day before Easter Day. Maundy Thursday
and Good Friday are also in Holy Week.
|Palm Sunday is the Sunday before
Palm Sunday remembers the
time when Jesus went into Jerusalem riding on the back of a
donkey. The people welcomed Him like a King and threw coats and
palm leaves on the ground for the donkey to walk over, just as a
red carpet would be put on the ground for a King or Queen today.
This occasion is sometimes known as the Triumphal Entry to
Jerusalem and the story can be found in The Bible: Matthew Chapter
21 and Mark Chapter 11.
Jesus went to Jerusalem
because it was the time of the Jewish feast of Passover. Many Jews
travelled to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast together.
To celebrate Palm Sunday,
in some churches palm branches or palm crosses, made from palm
leaves, are given out to everyone. In some other churches the
children will make palm crosses from strips of paper. Many
churches will have a procession in or around the church while
people sing songs of praise and wave palm leaves. This is to help
them imagine what Jesus' entry into Jerusalem might have been
The last week of
Lent is one of special devotion as we remember Christ's Passion. The word
"Passion" comes from the Latin word patior, meaning "I
suffer". Athanasius, in his Festal Letter of 330, referred to
it as "holy Paschal week."
Greek and Roman
worship books called it the "Great Week" because great deeds
were done by God during this week. In the 4th century, Bishops Athanasius
of Alexandria and Epiphanius of Constantia used the name "Holy
At first only
Friday and Saturday were observed as holy days. Wednesday was added
later as the day on which Judas plotted to betray Jesus. And by the
start of the 3rd century the other days of the week had been added.
Church celebrated just one great feast, the Christian Passover, on the
night between Saturday and Easter Sunday morning, but by late in the 4th
century the various events had been separated and people began
commemorating them on the days of the week on which they had occurred: