When Is Holy Week?

Alternate Names of the Days in Holy Week

Holy Week Celebrated In Larantuka
Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Holy Week, the final week of Lent, begins on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. Holy Week commemorates the Passion of Christ, from his entrance into Jerusalem, when palm branches were placed in his path, through his arrest on Holy Thursday and Crucifixion on Good Friday, to Holy Saturday, the day that Christ's body lay in the tomb.

How Is the Date Determined?

Because the date of Palm Sunday depends on the date of Easter, the dates of Holy Week change every year.

You can calculate the date of Holy Week based on the Easter formula

When Is Holy Week in 2018?

Holy Week in 2018 begins on March 25, on Palm Sunday and ends on March 31, on Holy Saturday. The Lenten season culminates with Easter on April 1.

Alternate Names for the Holy Days

The days of Holy Week may go by different names depending on the denomination of Christianity you practice. You may hear Palm Sunday, Holy Wednesday, and Good Friday called other terms. 

Passion Sunday

Palm Sunday can also go by Passion Sunday. The Passion is the narrative of Jesus' capture, his sufferings, and death. Among Lutherans and Anglicans, the day is known as the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday.

Spy Wednesday

Holy Wednesday may also be called Spy Wednesday. This is a reference to Judas Iscariot's intent to betray Jesus, a plot that he formed on Holy Wednesday.  In the Czech Republic this day is traditionally called "Ugly Wednesday," "Soot-Sweeping Wednesday," or "Black Wednesday," which is a reference to the day that chimneys should be swept clean in preparation for Easter festivities.

Maundy Thursday

You may also hear Holy Thursday called Maundy Thursday. It is believed that the term "maundy" comes from the Latin word for "mandate." Maundy signifies the time that Jesus washed the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday. He directed the apostles in John 13:34, "I give you a new commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you."

Great Friday

In English, Good Friday can also be called Great Friday, Black Friday, Easter Friday. Orthodox Christians usually refer to the day as Great Friday or Holy Friday. Many have wondered why the term "good," has been used as a descriptor for the Crucifixion. The word "good," formerly had another meaning in English. A now obsolete form of the word also meant "pious" or "holy."

In other languages, Good Friday is called other things. For example, Karfreitag in German means "mourning Friday." In Nordic countries, the day is called "the long Friday."

Holy Week in Future Years

These are the dates for Holy Week next year and in future years.

YearDates
2019April 14 (Palm Sunday) to April 20 (Holy Saturday)
2020April 5 (Palm Sunday) to April 11 (Holy Saturday)
2021March 28 (Palm Sunday) to April 3 (Holy Saturday)
2022April 10 (Palm Sunday) to April 16 (Holy Saturday)
2023April 2 (Palm Sunday) to April 8 (Holy Saturday)
2024March 24 (Palm Sunday) to March 30 (Holy Saturday)
2025April 13 (Palm Sunday) to April 19 (Holy Saturday)
2026March 29 (Palm Sunday) to April 4 (Holy Saturday)
2027March 21 (Palm Sunday) to March 27 (Holy Saturday)
2028April 9 (Palm Sunday) to April 15 (Holy Saturday)
2029March 25 (Palm Sunday) to March 31 (Holy Saturday)
2030 April 14 (Palm Sunday) to April 20 (Holy Saturday)

Holy Week in Previous Years

These are the dates when Holy Week fell in previous years.

YearDates
2007April 1 (Palm Sunday) to April 7 (Holy Saturday)
2008March 16 (Palm Sunday) to April 22 (Holy Saturday)
2009April 5 (Palm Sunday) to April 11 (Holy Saturday)
2010March 28 (Palm Sunday) to April 3 (Holy Saturday)
2011April 17 (Palm Sunday) to April 23 (Holy Saturday)
2012April 1 (Palm Sunday) to April 7 (Holy Saturday)
2013March 24 (Palm Sunday) to March 30 (Holy Saturday)
2014April 13 (Palm Sunday) to April 19 (Holy Saturday)
2015March 29 (Palm Sunday) to April 4 (Holy Saturday)
2016March 20 (Palm Sunday) to March 26 (Holy Saturday)
2017April 9 (Palm Sunday) to April 15 (Holy Saturday)

Other Holy Days

Other holy days may have dates that change and others are fixed. Holidays like Ash WednesdayPalm Sunday and Easter change each year.

Other important religious events like  Christmas Day remain on the same date year after year. 

 

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Richert, Scott P. "When Is Holy Week?" ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2018, thoughtco.com/when-is-holy-week-541562. Richert, Scott P. (2018, February 16). When Is Holy Week? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/when-is-holy-week-541562 Richert, Scott P. "When Is Holy Week?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/when-is-holy-week-541562 (accessed February 21, 2018).