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This past week in the days leading up to Easter Sunday, Christians around the world observed Holy Week, commemorating the final days in the life of Jesus Christ.
The traditional Holy Week calendar, which also marks the end of Lent, includes Palm Sunday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday — all days with individual customs based on biblical accounts from the New Testament.
The week is often characterized by elaborate processions that take place in dozens of cities, mostly in Latin American and European countries with traditional Roman Catholic culture.
Here’s a look at Holy Week festivities around the world.
Christians take part in a procession along the Via Dolorosa on Good Friday in Jerusalem’s Old City Apr. 3, 2015. Credit: Amir Cohen/REUTERS.
Penitents attend a reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia on Apr. 3, 2015. Credit: David Mercado/REUTERS.
Penitents take part in a Holy Week procession in Marsala, southern Italy on Apr. 2, 2015. Credit: Tony Gentile/REUTERS.
Holy Thursday is one of the most important procession times, especially in Marsala on the Italian island of Sicily. According to tradition, from Thursday until mass on Holy Saturday, not a church bell in the country will be rung.
Tens of Easter processions, like this one on Apr. 2, 2015, take place around Sicily island during Holy Week, drawing thousands of visitors. Credit: Tony Gentile/REUTERS.
In Jerusalem on Thursday, in honor of the Last Supper, Christian clergy participated in the Washing of the Feet ceremony.
Members of the Catholic clergy hold candles during a procession at the traditional Washing of the Feet ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City on Apr. 2, 2015. Credit: Ammar Awad/REUTERS.
Known as Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Spain, the most popular festivities take place in Seville, the capital of Spain’s southern region of Andalusia.
A popular pasttime for children is creating wax balls from the dripping candles held by the nazarenos or penitents, who light the way for the procession of elaborate religious images (pasos), some dating back to the 16th and 17th century.
People gather to watch the procession of “La Macarena” brotherhood during Seville, Spain on Apr. 3, 2015. Credit: Marcelo del Pozo/REUTERS.
Spanish legionnaires carry a statue of the Christ of Mena outside a church during a ceremony in Malaga, Spain on Apr. 2, 2015. Credit: Jon Nazca/REUTERS.
Girl asks for wax drops from the penitent of La Lanzada brotherhood in Seville, Spain. Credit: Marcelo del Pozo/REUTERS.
Two penitents take part in the Palm Sunday procession of the “Estudiantes” brotherhood in Oviedo, northern Spain on Mar. 29, 2015. Credit: Eloy Alonso/ REUTERS.
A penitent leaves a food shop before he takes part in the “Huerto” brotherhood in a Palm Sunday procession at the start of Holy Week in Malaga, Spain. Credit: Jon Nazca/REUTERS.
In The Philippines, penitents dress up as “Moriones” and don outfits that are interpretations of what locals believe Roman soldiers wore during biblical times.
Penitents called “Moriones” parade along the streets of Boac town on Marinduque island in central Philippines on Apr. 1, 2015. Credit: Romeo Ranoco/REUTERS.
Catholics participate in the Palm Sunday procession in Suchitoto on Mar. 29, 2015. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and marks the start of Holy Week. Credit: Jose Cabezas/REUTERS.
East Timorese Catholic women carry crosses during a Palm Sunday procession in Dili on Mar. 29, 2015. Credit: Lirio Da Fonseca.
Carey Reed assists in covering breaking and feature news for NewsHour Weekend's website. She also helps the NewsHour Weekend broadcast team in the production of the show. She is interested in the flourishing fields of data journalism and information visualization and recently graduated, with honors, from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
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