From dressing as Roman soldiers in Antigua, Guatemala, to carrying palm fronds on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria, Christians around the world are celebrating Holy Week.
For millions of Christians, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, known as Holy Week, is the most sacred time of the year. It’s the week Christians commemorate the passion of Jesus Christ.
The week began with Palm Sunday, where mass at the Vatican was celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square the day after he was discharged from the Agostino Gemelli University Hospital in Rome, where the Vatican said he was treated for bronchitis.
In Bolivia’s highland region, artists gathered for an annual event where they built sand sculptures based on Bible stories. Members of the faithful in Brazil wore tunics and hoods to take part in the Procession of Souls in Goiás state. And in Managua, Nicaragua, a child dressed as an angel during an event observing Good Friday, during which a masked worshipper held a religious banner depicting Jesus Christ on a cross.
Half a world away, Catholic nuns held candles during a Holy Thursday procession at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem. It’s the site where Jesus was crucified and buried according to tradition. Celebrations in Haiti included a Stations of the Cross reenactment in Port-au-Prince on Good Friday. In Spain, worshippers carried a portable dais platform supporting a statue of the Virgin Mary through the streets of Seville.
In recent years, Holy Week has been scaled back due to COVID-19 restrictions that require precautions such as social distancing and mask use. However, this year many of the faithful gathered in celebrations reminiscent of the era before the virus changed the nature of religious observance.
This year’s Holy Week was a year for gathering together in prayer.