The Lenten Season or Lent is the annual commemoration of the Passion of Christ. During the Holy Week (usually from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday), different religions and sects, especially Catholics, recognize and honor the sacrifice of the Son of God, as they physically and spiritually join him as they would have done two thousand years ago.

Many countries around the world consider Lent as a religious holiday. In some countries, school is suspended during for one to two weeks and some businesses are closed starting on Holy Thursday, to let the people participate in different church activities.

In this review, we will look at 5 Holy Week Traditions Around the World.

Jerusalem. Israel

Holy Week Traditions Around the World - Israel

On Good Friday, the Passion and crucifixion of Christ is remembered in Calvary. This is followed by the Station of the Cross led by the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land on the Via Dolorosa in the Old City, which is believed to be the route where Jesus Christ carried the cross to His crucifixion. At 8:10 in the evening, a re-enactment of the deposition of the body of Christ in the tomb is held in the Sepulchre. The last event is a unique practice of the Church of Jerusalem.

Cuenca, Spain

Holy Week Traditions Around the World - Spain

In Cuenca, Spain, thousands of people surround the penitents as they carry a statue of Our Father Nazarene during a the Good Friday procession known as the “Way of Calvary”.

Procida, ItalyHoly Week Traditions Around the World - Italy

Thousands of people in Procida, Italy take part in the Good Friday procession, garbed in white habit and violet/blue capes. A wooden statue of Christ made by Carmine Lantriceni, in Italian sculptor, in 1728, is paraded on the streets off the coast of Naples.

Pampanga, Philippines

Holy Week Traditions Around the World - Philippines

Being a former colony of Spain, Philippines is predominantly a Catholic country and each province or parish have their own ways of commemorating the Passion and crucifixion of Christ. One of the most known places for its Holy Week traditions are Santa Lucia and San Pedro Cutud in the City of San Fernando in Pampanga. These two places take the commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice and death to a different level. Thousands of people are drawn to these communities to see the procession of a Kristo, centurions and flagellants or penitentes (hooded men) as they make their way to the crucifixion site while whipping their already bleeding back. Once they’ve reached the makeshift Calvary, volunteers (usually three men or even women) are crucified for real.  

Middle East and North Africa

Holy Week Traditions Around the World - Middle East and North Africa

In many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Muslims abstain from eating meat, dairy products, eggs, fish, olive oil and alcohol every Friday during the Lenten Season. Muslims do not celebrate the Holy Week, but they abstain from eating certain kinds of food during the Lenten Season because Lent is mention in their Holy Koran.

Every country, community, religion, or sect have their own ways of commemorating the sacrifice and death of Christ, as well as different beliefs of the things that an individual should and should not do during the Lenten season. It doesn’t really matter which practice you decide to follow, because what really matters during this time of the year is your dedication to what you are practicing and sincerity of putting the belief or tradition to practice.

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