Holy Week


Holy Week

Holy Week (Latin: "Hebdomada Sancta" or "Maior Hebdomada", "Greater Week") in Christianity is the last week before Easter. It includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) and Good Friday, and lasts from Palm Sunday (or in the Eastern, Lazarus Saturday) until but not including Easter Sunday, as Easter Sunday is the first day of the new season of The Great Fifty Days. It commemorates the last week of the earthly life of Jesus Christ culminating in his crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

History

Holy Week in the Christian year is the week immediately preceding Easter. The earliest allusion to the custom of marking this week as a whole with special observances is to be found in the Apostolical Constitutions (v. 18, 19), dating from the latter half of the 3rd century. In this text, abstinence from wine and flesh is commanded for all the days, while for the Friday and Saturday an absolute fast is commanded. Dionysius Alexandrinus in his canonical epistle (AD 260), refers to the six fasting days implying that the observance of them had already become an established usage in his time.

There is some doubt about the genuineness of an ordinance attributed to Constantine, in which abstinence from public business was enforced for the seven days immediately preceding Easter Sunday, and also for the seven which followed it; the "Codex Theodosianus", however, is explicit in ordering that all actions at law should cease, and the doors of all courts of law be closed during those fifteen days (1. ii. tit. viii.). Of the particular days of the "great week" the earliest to emerge into special prominence was naturally Good Friday. Next came the "Sabbatum Magnum" ("Great Sabbath", i.e., Holy Saturday or Easter Eve) with its vigil, which in the early church was associated with an expectation that the second advent would occur on an Easter Sunday.

There are other texts that refer to the traditions of the Early Church, most notably "The Pilgrimage of Etheria" (also known as "The Pilgrimage of Egeria") which details the complete observance of Holy Week in the early church.

Holy Week in Eastern Christianity

In Eastern Orthodox Churches and Eastern Catholic Churches, Holy Week is referred to as "Great and Holy Week". Orthros (Matins) services for each day are held on the preceding evening. Thus, the Matins service of Great Monday is sung on Palm Sunday evening, and so on. This permits more of the faithful to attend, and shows that during Holy Week the times are out of joint—Matins ends up being served in the evening, and in some places Vespers is served in the morning.

Fasting during Great and Holy Week is very strict. Dairy products and meat products are strictly forbidden. On most days, no alcoholic beverages are permitted and no oil is used in the cooking. Friday and Saturday are observed as strict fast days, meaning that nothing should be eaten on those days. However, fasting is always adjusted to the needs of the individual, and those who are very young, ill or elderly are not expected to fast as strictly. Those who are able to, may receive the blessing of their spiritual father to observe an even stricter fast, whereby they eat only two meals that week: one on Wednesday night and one after Divine Liturgy on Thursday.

The services of Sunday through Tuesday evenings are often called "Bridegroom Prayer", because of their theme of Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church, a theme expressed in the troparion that is solemnly chanted during them. On these days, an icon of the "Bridegroom" is placed on an analogion in the center of the temple, portraying Jesus wearing the purple robe of mockery and crowned with a crown of thorns (see Instruments of the Passion).

Towards the end of the Tuesday evening Bridegroom service, the "Hymn of Kassiani" is sung. The hymn, (written in the 9th century by Kassiani the Nun) tells of the woman who washed Christ's feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee. (), which occurred before the Palm Sunday event described in "(Procession of the Meeting). During this marathonian procession, which lasts nine hours, about 4,000 penitents carry 13 "pasos" around all the city. The most solemn moment is " _es. El Encuentro" (The Meeting) when the pasos representing Saint John and La Dolorosa face one to the other and are " _es. bailados" (penitents move the paso like Saint John and La Dolorosa were dancing).

Also famous is a secular procession, called Entierro de San Genarín (Burial of Saint Genarín). In 1929 on Maundy Thursday night a poor alcoholic person, called Genaro Blanco was run over by the first rubbish truck in León. The procession consists of a march through the city with Orujo at the head of the procession to the front of the city walls where the man was supposedly run over and then cheese, a bottle of Orujo and two oranges are left at the spot.

Other Holy Week Cities in Spain

All of these cities, including those above, have been declared of international tourist interest.

Linares, Spain

Linares' Holy Week is always declared of National touristic band interest since 1998. Processions start on Palm Sunday and they end at Easter Sunday. The most important procession in Linares is "Procesión del Nazareno" that occurs in the night from Holy Thrursday to Good Friday and crosses our sin city during ten hours with the company of miles of "penitentes"

The greatest "paso" in Holy Week corresponds to procession of "Last Supper of Christ and his 12 Apostles" and commemorates this supper and the institution of the Eucharist. This group of sculptures is considered the masterpiece of a great Spanish sculptor called Victor de los Ríos.

Linares' Holy Week is famous for a type of Holy Week bands, called "Bandas de Cabecera", that are created and put in scene in this city.

"Bandas de Cabecera" are composed for about one hundred of "penitentes" with diverse musical instrument (formed by wind instrument and percussion). They are situated at the beginning of the procession. They performed adapted famous film soundtracks ("Ben-hur", "Exodus", "Gladiator", "The mission", ...) and very famous pieces of classical music ("Aranjuez's Concert" "Aida" "The lake of the swans", ...) and even famous modern song ("Going home" by Dire Strait, "Inch Allat" by Adamo, "The sound of silence" by Simon & Garfunkel, ...).

Valencian Community

* Monóvar

Castile and Leon

* Zamora
* Valladolid
* Salamanca
* Ávila
* Palencia

Castile-La Mancha

* Toledo [http://www.toledoaldia.com/nuevoproyecto/SemanaSantaToledo.htm]
* Tobarra
* Hellin

Andalusia

* Sevilla
* Córdoba
* Malaga
* Linares [http://semanasantalinarense.blogspot.com]
* Jerez de la Frontera
* Aracena

Holy Week in the Philippines

In this predominantly Roman Catholic nation, Holy Week, known as both "Semana Santa" or "Mahal na Araw", is considered as one of the most important religious festivals of the entire year. Many superstitions abound regarding this holiest of weeks, such as that wounds inflicted or received on Good Friday take long to heal and that amulets acquired on the said day are especially powerful.

Throughout the week, most establishments either shut down operations until Black Saturday or have later opening and earlier closing times, and (mostly local) television stations either stay off the air and those that sign-on air shows with more solemn or serious content, especially films and programmes with a religious theme. An example is the airing of the Seven Last Words on Good Friday live from churches on various local channels and films about the life and death of Jesus. During the Easter Triduum, usually a public holiday, some television stations even interrupt broadcast altogether until Black Saturday in observance of this solemn occasion.

Palm Sunday

At Mass on Palm Sunday, Catholics carry palm fronds to be blessed by the priest. Many Filipinos bring them home after the Mass and place them above their front doors or windows, in the belief that doing so can ward off evil spirits and avert lightning.

Holy Monday to Holy Wednesday

Holy Monday marks the beginning of the "Pabasa" (literally, "reading") or the "Pasyon", the marathon chanting of the poetic prayer-story of Jesus' life, Passion, and death, which continues day and night, for as long as two straight days.

Holy Thursday

Come Holy Thursday, a popular tradition is "Church Visit", which involves visiting a church or several churches at which the faithful would pray the devotion known as the Stations of the Cross. Celebrated on this day is the last Mass before Easter, usually including a reenactment of the Washing of the Feet of the Apostles; this Mass is followed by the procession of the Blessed Sacrament before it is taken to the Altar of Repose.

Good Friday

Good Friday, a public holiday in the Philippines, is commemorated with solemn street processions, the Way of the Cross, the commemoration of Jesus' Seven last words and a Passion play called the Senakulo. In some communities (most famously in the province of Pampanga), the processions include devotees who self-flagellate and sometimes even have themselves nailed to crosses as expressions of penance or in fulfillment of a vow accomplished in thanksgiving or exchange for a granted request or prayer. After three o'clock in the afternoon of Good Friday (the time at which Jesus is traditionally believed to have died), noise is discouraged, bathing is proscribed and the faithful are urged to keep a solemn and prayerful disposition. Towards late afternoon and evening their is the procession of the dead Christ. The figure of the corpse of Jesus is taken in solemn procession and borne on a decorated hearse, after which it is venerated by the faithful. Some even accord the image with the proper funeral rites such as laying the body in state or, in some instances, by smoking the seated corpse of Jesus over a fire in accordance with local, pre-hispanic funerary customs. Such a procession may involve a various number of other saints, and tradition dictates that the last image in the line is the Sorrowful Virgin.

Holy Saturday

Black Saturday, as it is called in the country, is traditionally observed with silence and solemnity. Preparations are made for the Easter Vigil to be celebrated that evening.

Easter Sunday

Easter morning is marked with joyous celebration, the first being the dawn ceremony called the "Salubong" ("meeting"), wherein statues of the Resurrected Christ and the Virgin Mary, along with other saints such as St. Peter and Mary Magdalene, are brought in procession together to meet, imagining the first reunion of Jesus and his mother Mary after the Resurrection. The statue of the Virgin Mary is veiled in black, showing her state of bereavement. A girl dressed as an angel, positioned on a specially constructed high platform/scaffold or suspended in mid-air, sings the Regina Coeli and then dramatically pulls the veil off of the image, signifying the end of her grieving. This is followed by pealing bells and fireworks, and the joyous Easter Mass.

Hereunder are the cities and locales nationwide with famous Holy Week celebrations and observances:
* Angono
* Baliuag
* Bantayan Island
* Malolos
* Marikina City
* Marinduque
* Meycauayan
* Paete
* Pampanga:
**San Pedro Cutud, San Fernando City
* San Pablo City

Other countries

Cities famous for their Holy Week processions include:
*Colombia
**Popayán
*Guatemala
**Antigua Guatemala
**Guatemala City
*Honduras
**Comayagua
**Tegucigalpa
*Nicaragua
**Managua
**Granada, Nicaragua
**León, Nicaragua
*Costa Rica
**San José
**Heredia

*Italy
**Taranto

*Malta
**Birgu
**Cospicua
**Luqa
**Mosta
**Naxxar
**Paola
**Qormi
**Rabat
**Senglea
**Valletta
**Żebbuġ, Malta
**Żejtun

**Gozo
***Nadur
***Victoria
***Xagħra
***Xewkija
***Żebbuġ, Gozo

*Peru
**Ayacucho
**Cusco
**Huaraz
**Tarma

*Mexico
**Iztapalapa

*Venezuela
**Miranda (state)
***Tacarigua de Mamporal
***Guatire
**Caracas

*Vietnam
**Tuần Thánh

Holy Week in Protestant churches

Many Protestant churches do not have the special ceremonies that distinguish Holy Week in Orthodox and Catholic churches. However, most Protestants conduct more informal celebrations of Holy Week, usually including sermons about the last week of Christ's life, and possibly some special services on Palm Sunday, Good Friday and or Easter Sunday. Lutherans, Anglicans and other Protestants in the catholic tradition observe Holy Week much as the Roman Catholic Church does. Of Protestant fellowships, perhaps the Holy Week services [Passion Week] of the Moravian Church are the most elaborate, as the Congregation follows the life of Christ through His final week in a harmony of the Gospel stories, responding to the actions in hymns, prayers and litanies.

References

ee also

*Easter (or Pascha)
*Liturgical year
*Catholic Holy Week procession.

External links

* [http://www.cresourcei.org/cyholyweek.html The Days of Holy Week] at The Christian Resource Institute
* [http://www.goarch.org/en/special/lent/articles.asp Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha] at the Greek Orthodox Church of America
* [http://www.greekorthodox.org.au/general/livinganorthodoxlife/liturgicalmeaningofholyweek/saturdayoflazarus Holy Week] Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
* [http://gospain.about.com/od/semanasantaeaster/ss/semana_santa.htm Semana Santa in Spain]
* [http://www.holyweektaranto.com Holy Week in Taranto, Italy]
* [http://merlu.peromato.com Main festival of Zamora SEMANA SANTA ZAMORA]
* [http://www.valenciavalencia.com/culture-guide/semana-santa/semana-santa-valencia.htm Semana Santa of Valencia, Spain]
* [http://reference.aol.com/fast-facts/holidays/_a/fast-facts-about-holy-week-and-easter/20060406170009990002 Holy Week and Easter] Fast Facts from AOL Research & Learn
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07435a.htm Holy Week from the Catholic Encyclopedia]
* [http://www.baliuag.net/index.php?option=com_rsgallery2&Itemid=38&gid=10 Holy Week in Baliuag, Bulacan]
* [http://semanasantalinarense.blogspot.com/2007/03/bandas-de-cabecera.html Holy Week in Linares (Andalusia, Spain) and its "Bandas de Cabecera" ]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaiE2DEmxbw Holy Week in Linares. "Banda de Cabecera" playing "The Sound Of Silent" ]
* [http://www.flickr.com/photos/billbevan/sets/72157604281797082/ Semana Santa in Pruna, Andalucia 2008]
* [http://www.viaterra.net/photopages/spain/semanasanta.htm Semana Santa in Soller, Majorca 2008]
* [http://www.chicosanchez.com/holyweek Slide Show of the Holy Week in Andalusia, Spain.]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Holy Week — • The week which precedes the great festival of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, and which consequently is used to commemorate the Passion of Christ, and the event which immediately led up to it Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Holy… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Holy Week — Holy Ho ly, a. [Compar. {Holier}; superl. {Holiest}.] [OE. holi, hali, AS. h[=a]lig, fr. h[ae]l health, salvation, happiness, fr. h[=a]l whole, well; akin to OS. h?lag, D. & G. heilig, OHG. heilac, Dan. hellig, Sw. helig, Icel. heilagr. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Holy Week — n [singular] the week before Easter in the Christian church …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Holy Week — Holy ,Week noun count or uncount in the Christian religion, the week before Easter Sunday …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Holy Week — ► NOUN ▪ the week before Easter …   English terms dictionary

  • Holy Week — n. the week before Easter …   English World dictionary

  • Holy Week — the week preceding Easter Sunday. [1700 10; trans. of It settimana santa] * * * ▪ Christianity       in the Christian Church, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, observed with special solemnity as a time of devotion to the passion of Jesus… …   Universalium

  • Holy Week — UK / US noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms Holy Week : singular Holy Week plural Holy Weeks in the Christian religion, the week before Easter Sunday …   English dictionary

  • Holy Week —  ; Great Week    The term Holy Week, known as Great Week in the Eastern Churches, begins on Palm (Passion) Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. Holy Week includes the celebration of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the events… …   Glossary of theological terms

  • Holy Week — N UNCOUNT In the Christian religion, Holy Week is the week before Easter, when Christians remember the events leading up to the death of Christ …   English dictionary


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