Semana Santa: More Than Just a Holiday

Semana Santa is coming up, and what that means for many is a week of vacation from work or school. But what many may overlook, is that Semana Santa is an important observance with an amazing history.

So from April 2nd to 9th, I hope you take a moment to think of what Semana Santa really means, and maybe you’ll feel inspired to celebrate it differently.

Beaches are soon to fill up across Nicaragua. At the same time, churches around the world prepare for large masses. But what is the meaning of Semana Santa? 

Semana Santa, known as Holy Week in English, is a week-long celebration that begins on Palm Sunday, April 2, and ends on Easter Sunday, April 9. Palm Sunday marks Jesus Christ’s return to Jerusalem, after he left because of persecution. This day is called Palm Sunday due to the cheerful waving of palms that Jesus’s faithful followers performed upon his arrival. But this wasn’t the only prophecy fulfilled, as during this week, Jesus held the last supper with his disciples and then was cruelly captured and crucified by the Romans. On the final day, Easter Sunday, Jesus resurrected from the cave tomb he was buried in, and rose to the heavens to be reunited with the Father. 

Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”

Now knowing the true meaning of Semana Santa, as a Catholic I will be celebrating these days off from school, contemplating what Jesus did for me. My hope is that Catholics and Christians around the world will be attending some of the masses during this holiday. 

Realistic image of Jesus Christ’s Crucifixion, from

If you’re wanting a recommendation about which masses to attend, it is recommended to attend the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, April 8, when the large white paschal candle is lit representing Christ’s presence in the world and the power in his death. If you can’t make this one, then definitely attend the Easter mass on Sunday, April 9, which celebrates Jesus’ resurrection and completes the holy week.

Semana Santa means to me a week of salvation, where I thank Christ and mourn his death, alongside the rest of the Christian world. 

What does Semana Santa mean to you?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

—John 3:16

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