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.
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.
In Jerusalem on Thursday, in honor of the Last Supper, Christian clergy participated in the Washing of the Feet ceremony.
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.
In The Philippines, penitents dress up as “Moriones” and don outfits that are interpretations of what locals believe Roman soldiers wore during biblical times.