Holy Week

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the week preceding Easter Sunday.
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Origin of Holy Week

1700–10; translation of Italian settimana santa
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is Holy Week?

Holy Week is the week before Easter, from Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday.

Easter is the holiday on which Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity. Holy Week is based on the biblical account of the events that occurred in the week before what’s now called Easter Sunday, including Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), the Last Supper (Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday), and his crucifixion and death (Good Friday).

In Western Christianity, Holy Week is the last week of Lent, the season of fasting and penitence that precedes Easter.

In the Orthodox Church, Lent ends when Holy Week begins.

When is Holy Week?

The dates of Holy Week depend on the date of Easter, which moves every year.

In Western Christianity, the date when Holy Week starts (on Palm Sunday) can fall between March 15 and April 18, and the date on which it ends (on Holy Saturday) can fall between March 21 and April 24.

In 2022, Holy Week is from April 10 to April 16, with Easter Sunday on April 17. In 2023, Holy Week is from April 2 to April 9, with Easter Sunday on April 10.

In the Orthodox Church, the date of Easter is calculated in a different way.

In 2022, Orthodox Holy Week is from April 17 to April 23, with Easter Sunday on April 24. In 2023, Orthodox Holy Week is from April 9 to April 15, with Easter Sunday on April 16.

More information and context on Holy Week

The first records of the term Holy Week come from the early 1700s. It’s a direct translation of the Italian phrase settimana santa.

Holy Week can include a variety of church services, with different ones held on different days. The week often begins in a celebratory way on Palm Sunday (commemorating Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem) and turns to somber reflection as Good Friday approaches. Easter Sunday itself is a time of celebration and is considered the most important Christian holiday.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Holy Week?

How is Holy Week discussed in real life?

For many Christians, Holy Week is associated with preparation for Easter and the church services and other traditions that occur during that week.


Try using Holy Week!

True or False?

Holy Week starts on Easter.

How to use Holy Week in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Holy Week

Holy Week

the week preceding Easter Sunday
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012