The Holy Week leading up to Easter
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Most people, even non-Christians are familiar with the celebration of Easter in the United States and across the globe. They even have a vague idea of why Easter is celebrated though not many know about the history of Easter. However, only very few people and devout Christians are knowledgeable about Lent and the Holy Week leading up to Easter.
Here is a quick run down on the long journey of penance and fasting that leads up to the great celebration of Easter.
Ash Wednesday: The penance or period of fasting begins on Ash Wednesday.
Lent: This is a forty-day period of penance and fasting to share the grief borne by Jesus Christ by self-denial. Lent goes on for 46 days because Sundays are the day of resurrection and hence exempt from Lent.
Palm Sunday: This is the last Sunday of Lent and the first day of the Holy Week. This is the day when Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem where he was welcomed with open arms. It is also the basis for the Palm Sunday processions.
The Holy Monday & Tuesday: The cleansing of the temple at Jerusalem supposedly took place on Holy Monday. It is also the day when Jesus reprimanded the moneychangers. The Holy Tuesday is the day when the famous incident between Jesus and Pharisees supposedly took place where an attempt was made to get Jesus to commit blasphemy.
Spy Wednesday: This is the day when Judas Iscariot, a disciple of Jesus who betrayed him told the chief priests where they could find Jesus.
Maundy Thursday: This is the day of the last supper before crucifixion.
Good Friday: The day when Jesus was crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem, at the top of Calvary hill. This day is marked by solemn thoughts, fasting and abstinence to commemorate the pain and suffering of Jesus.
Easter Eve: This is the Holy Saturday and Easter Eve. It is a traditional time for baptism.
Easter Sunday: Finally the day of resurrection and the big feast. Jesus is said to have risen from the dead after crucifixion. He also joined his disciples for a meal and told them to carry on his works in his absence.
Thus, there are many smaller celebrations that lead up to the biggest feast of all on Easter.
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