Saturday, March 24, 2007

Or, Why I'll Be Taking All Next Week Off

Eleven years of Catholic education has taught me that this is Christianity's big week: Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday. In short, Holy Week. But a conversation this morning made me wonder about the rest of the week. Why should they be denied a fancy name. They do, after all, occur in the seven days leading up to the big Egg Festival Day. (And that's what we're celebrating, right?)

Let's give a big thank-you to the Wikipedia, for telling me what I should already know about my religion. In order, Holly Week goes as follows.
  • Palm Sunday.
  • Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday — about which Wikipedia has little to say, as links to either merely redirect to the page for Holy Week.
  • Spy Wednesday, named for the observance of Judas's treachery. It is known in other languages as Ugly Wednesday or Soot-Sweeping Wednesday.
  • Maundy Thursday, the name of which I had heard before but never really understood. It commemorates the Last Supper, but the "Maundy" part itself is a bit of a mystery. Historians aren't sure whether we got it from mandutum — the Latin for "commandment," spoken specifically in the context of "A new commandment I give unto you is that you love one another as I have loved you." The other camp suggests "Maundy" comes from the Latin mendicare, "to beg," as the well-to-do Christians back in the day were apparently especially generous three days before Easter.
  • Good Friday, when Jesus died and therefore would seem to be named ironically.
  • Holy Saturday, which by now sounds horribly unimpressive, given the preponderance of the word "Holy" so far. I would prefer calling any other of its names in other languages — Easter Even, Glorious Saturday, Low Saturday, Black Saturday or White Saturday.
  • Easter Sunday, of course.
  • And then Easter Monday, which Wikipedia claims is important to some people.
So can Catholics just be expected to be out until next Tuesday?

EDIT: Ha. That will teach me to think I know what date it is. Holy Week, after all, is next week. I guess this changed my plans for going home for Easter.

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure Palm Sunday isn't until the first. Just FYI.