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The Definitive Calendar of Holy Week Observance

A man dressed in a suit holding a calendar of March and shrugging with his hand in the air. Title of the blog is, "The Definitive Calendar of Holy Week Observance."

Here’s a special Holy Week Bonus Blog! It started as me writing a children’s time, but I soon realized that it was 1) too long, 2) too silly, and 3) didn’t really communicate anything of value. But I wrote it anyway. Please understand that I am only sharing this with you because misery loves company. Please recognize that these are my dumb thoughts, don’t get mad at Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church. Don’t get mad at me, either please:

A guide to the proper observance of Holy Week, as outlined through tradition, scripture, and… um… me.

Palm Sunday – OOOOh boy! This one’s a fun one! Donkeys! Leaves! Coats! Lots of noise and you get a toy to play with in church. Celebrate Palm Sunday by subtly tickling the back of someone’s neck with a palm branch and then looking innocent. Alternatively, you can throw your coat in the mud.

Monday – No special name. It’s just Monday. But we have to put something here. People say this was the day that Jesus cursed the fig tree. Seems like a stretch, but the official name is now Arbor Monday. You can celebrate it by yelling at a tree that you don’t like.

Tuesday – Just Tuesday. That’s it. I’ve wasted the fun name on Arbor Monday. The Tuesday of Holy Week is now officially known as “Tuesday.” The spirit of Tuesday is hard to capture, but you can best celebrate this auspicious day by living your life like every day was Tuesday.

Spy Wednesday – This one’s news to me. People were plotting to kill Jesus (Foreshadowing), and one of those people was Judas (Booo!). Spy Wednesday is the day that all of this came together. You can properly celebrate this day by doing shady business or betraying someone you love.

Now we come to, “The Three Days.” This isn’t just me enumerating days. The Three Days are in caps. When you enter this part of Holy Week you have to make sure that every time you say The Three Days that you shout it so people understand the distinction. Let’s dig in:

Maundy Thursday – Maundy Thursday? Monday’s sitting there like “Arbor Monday’s a big stretch, how come Thursday gets to be Monday too?” No, Monday, it’s Maundy Thursday. It’s Latin and you wouldn’t understand. According to Wikipedia, “Maundy" comes from the Latin word mandatum, or commandment, reflecting Jesus' words, ‘I give you a new commandment.’” Thanks, Wikipedia! Here’s the day that Jesus ate dinner with his friends, yum. It’s also when Jesus told us to love each other, which I think we probably already knew? Celebrate this holiday by eating dinner, telling a friend you love them (Maybe the one you betrayed yesterday?), or pedantically defining Maundy to strangers to feel better about yourself.

Good Friday – Good Friday, bad name. The Old English called it, “Long Friday.” Now we’re getting somewhere. Bad Friday would be a better name. Worst Friday could also work pretty well. But I think we should go with, “That one Friday that we don’t really like talking about.” Advocates of the “goodness” of Friday will tell you that “good” actually means holy. Apparently, we were out of “holies” at the adjective store by the time Friday came around. This is a serious day, though, so I shouldn’t joke too much about it. Jesus died. You can honor this day by refusing to say the word “good” until after Easter.

Holy Saturday – Holy Saturday largely exists in order to rub Good Friday’s face in the fact that it got to “Holy” first. This was also not a good day. Kind of just a bummer. It was also the Sabbath day, so there really wasn’t anything to do. This is sometimes celebrated as an “Easter Vigil,” which is a fancy way of saying “sitting around and waiting.” Celebrate Holy Saturday by looking at your watch and sighing every hour or so.

Easter Sunday! It’s Easter Sunday! You did it! You got through all Holy Week and celebrated as the tradition (as of today) dictates! You must be pretty tired by now. Celebrate by sleeping in. You deserve a break.


Peace, Rev. Jeff Fox-Kline Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church


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