Holy Week marks the last week of Lent and the week before Easter in Christianity. Early Christians offered sacrifices of prayers and processions during this week, as a special way to remember the Lord Jesus Christ's suffering, death and resurrection.
Things have changed, however, and gone are the days when all Christians observe the early practices. Some still do, but what most people do during Holy Week is now spend this week reuniting with their families or going on vacation.
The perfect destination during Holy Week is the Holy Land. There is nothing like celebrating Holy Week in Jerusalem, Israel.
Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus' triumphant entry to Jerusalem before his arrest. During Palm Sunday, thousands of believers join the traditional Palm Sunday procession at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. From the Church, devotees attend the Holy Mass and carry palm branches in the procession, that goes around the Aedicule of the tomb below the dome of the Rotunda.
On Holy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the best sites to visit in the Holy Land are the Dead Sea, Mount of Olives, Mount Zion, Dormition Abbey, David's Tomb, The Pool of Bethesda, and the Cave of John the Baptist.
Notable Churches and Chapels in Jerusalem are : The Paternoster Church, Church of Dominus Flevit, The Church of St. Mary Magdalena, Chapel of the Ascension, Grotto of Agony, Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, The Monastery of the Cross, Church of the Visitation, the Church of St. John the Baptist and Church of Agony, also called the Church of All Nations, where the Rock of Agony lies, is a nice place to pray and reflect while in Holy Land.
Holy Thursday and Good Friday are the two busiest days of the Holy week. In the Holy Land, continuous Masses of the Lord's Supper are celebrated at the Holy Sepulchre during these days.
In the evening of Holy Thursday, pilgrims and local Christians can spend the night in the Garden of Gethsemane for the meditative Holy Hour vigil then, followed by a candlelight procession to the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, the place where Jesus spend his 1st night after the arrest.
On Good Friday, Christ's death is remembered at the Calvary followed by the Stations of the Cross at Via Dolorosa and come nighttime, a re-enactment at the Holy Sepulchre of Jesus' funeral and disposition of his Body into a tomb is also commemorated.
The highlight of Holy Land travel are the closing celebrations of Holy Week during Easter. The Easter vigil is the most awaited time of the week, held Saturday Morning till nighttime in The Basilica of the Resurrection. On Easer Sunday, Sunday Mass is celebrated all day at in the Holy Land, with a procession around Jesus' tomb.
The best time to reflect and visit the Holy Land is during the Holy Week, but all year round there are many Catholic pilgrimages, and fascinating tours for visitation of sacred Christian sites, along with other historical attractions in Jerusalem.