Holy Week 2020

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Holy Week 2020

Holy Week is here, with all the elements that compose it. Do you know what each day of Holy Week consists of? What is Lent? Why do you eat fish? Discover the answers to all of these questions, and a variety of destinations and travel options so you can enjoy Holy Week 2020 to the fullest.

Easter history

The Holy Week period consists in remembering annually the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It has been celebrated since the 2nd century A.C. in the countries where the Catholic religion is practiced, being holidays on Thursdays and Fridays, although there are places where the whole week is considered free, so that it can be dedicated to religious celebrations. Traditions have varied considerably over the years and are presented in a different way in each country, according to culture, beyond professing the same beliefs.

The schedule is the same worldwide, at least in what is commemorated on each day of Holy Week. The distribution of the days is done according to a specific event in the outcome of the life of Jesus Christ.

Palm Sunday

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, the day on which Jesus enters mounted on a donkey in a triumphant way to Jerusalem, where he was acclaimed and received with olive branches by the crowd that recognized him as the Son of God. This day is the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. 

In the celebration of this day, people usually carry olive bouquets to remember this event and for them to be blessed and so palm crosses can be made to be put behind the doors or next to the crucifixes and religious images.

Holy Monday to Holy Wednesday

Between Monday and Wednesday there isn’t a celebration of the same magnitude to that held on the other dates. However, the masses are permanent throughout each day, although these days are not holidays and there are few people who have the day off. These dates are famous, especially Wednesday, for being the moment when Judas Iscariot meets with the Sanhedrin to sell Jesus.

Holy Thursday

Thursday is remembered as the Last Supper, the night Jesus met with his disciples for the last time and informed them about how he will be condemned because of the betrayal of one of them. During this celebration Jesus is captured and taken under the dominions of Pontius Pilate. It is a very renowned scene throughout the year but that undoubtedly in Holy Week takes on more importance and is devoted much more time and detail. Holy Thursday is also very famous for being the day Leonardo da Vinci portrayed the image of the Last Supper in the 15th century.

Holy Friday

Undoubtedly, Friday is the peak day of Holy Week. It is the day when Jesus, after being captured and tortured, dies on the cross with two thieves. The story tells that Jesus died at 3 in the afternoon, moment when the earth was in total darkness for 3 days, confirming to those who doubted his word that he was really the son of God.


The via crucis is an activity composed of 14 stations where 14 moments are reflected from when Jesus is sentenced to death until he finally dies. In each one, a reference is made to a specific fact of this journey towards the cross, making a reading and the respective prayer. The via crucis is made in a group of several people where representations of the cross or images of the virgin and other saints are also usually carried.


Holy Friday is the saddest day of Holy Week and the atmosphere among Catholics is towards this feeling, especially after 3 in the afternoon. It is a day not to go out to the street after this time and to spend this painful moment at home and in family.

Holy Saturday

On Saturday the pain of Christ's death continues, but with the hope of the resurrection expected for the next day. This date is known for the ceremony of water and light, an extensive meeting at night that takes place in the dark to be able to bless the candles that are lit and the water that is carried. During this celebration, and through the elements that are carried away, the resurrection of Christ is represented, as he comes to life on the third day after being crucified, as he had warned before he died.

Easter Sunday


The happiest day and the essence of Holy Week. The day they went to look for Jesus in the tomb and discover he was gone, only his mantle and the robes with which he had been wrapped remain. Christ rose again, after having died to pay for all the sins of mankind. With this, Holy Week culminates, being the time for people to reflect, repent of their sins, reunite as a family and above all remember the history and events that are part of the Catholic religion.

When it's holy week?

Holy Week is an event of great importance for the Christian religion and is celebrated all over the world, takes place at the end of March and/or beginning of April, exactly 40 days after Ash Wednesday. This year, Holy Week will take place from April 5, 2020 (Palm Sunday) until April 12, 2020 (Easter Sunday).

Holy Week in Colombia

Colombia is a Catholic country, where these traditions are maintained and celebrated with great emotion. Every Sunday, the churches are filled with people who go to thank early in the morning and that extends to the masses in the evening hours. In Colombia, rosaries are prayed regularly, especially in the elderly and in towns that keep alive these beliefs that tend to be lost in youth.

In Holy Week the reception is massive. People go out for a walk, mainly to quiet villages where you can celebrate each of the events that make up the Holy Week. This is not a vacation and much less and a pleasure trip. Colombians often take this period very seriously to analyze many things in their lives, thank for good things and ask for a better future.

Schools and universities give their students the whole week to travel with their families, while only some jobs grant these days to their employees. The vast majority only have Thursday and Friday free, days that are established as holidays in the calendar. Going to the different Eucharist, as well as to the via crucis, are activities that are mandatory among Catholics, especially among the most conservative and traditional families.

Holy Week in Medellin

Medellin is known as a happy and partying city, but when it comes to praying they are one of the most dedicated ones. In Medellin, religious beliefs are respected and are an essential part of each family. The vast majority of rituals take place in the Metropolitan Basilica Cathedral in Bolivar Park. A good plan may be to visit some other town in Antioquia like Jerico, Jardin or Santa Fe de Antioquia to live an even more traditional religious experience but in a welcoming and enjoyable way.

Holy Week in Bogota

Being a travel period, an important number of people decide to leave the city and spend Holy Week somewhere quieter, especially those who are not from Bogota and want to spend this date in the company of their families. However, the capital of Colombians programs several activities that allow memorable experiences to be lived during this period, which makes people from other regions decide to spend Holy Week in Bogota.

The main activity is to walk to Cerro de Monserrate as a penance for sins and once at the top, enter the church of the Fallen Lord and pray. What is most striking is that some people are encouraged to make this extensive journey on their knees as a sign of repentance, ending with their bloodied limbs due to contact with the stone path for so many hours.

Holy Week in Cartagena

Many people come to Cartagena to take advantage of the holidays that Holy Week has. The city welcomes you with a wide gastronomic festival focused mainly on sweets and desserts allowing its visitors to have a very pleasant experience. As for the activities of Holy Week, the respective celebrations will be held as in other places but always with the joy that highlights the coastal town. To this is added the so-called religious tourism, mainly in the San Pedro Claver Parish, where you can find several corners of this temple.

Lent and Holy Week

Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday, 40 days after Ash Wednesday, a period known as Lent. This time is intended for spiritual preparation and purification for Holy Week. The duration of 40 days is due to Jesus remaining this same amount of dates in the Judean desert, before his public mission. It also refers to the 40 days that the universal flood lasted, the 40 years of the Israelite people's march through the desert, and the 40 decades that the slavery of the Jews in Egypt lasted.

What to do in Holy Week?

Holy Week is focused on religious activities towards remembering each of the days that Christ lived in the last week before his death. It is not a holiday week as many believe, because although there are a few days off from daily work, it is expected that this time will be used to profess the Catholic faith in a more passionate way. Going to mass, praying as a family, attending the crossroads and repenting of the sins done up to that moment, are some of the most common practices to do during Holy Week.

Many choose to travel to take advantage of holidays to rest and share family time, without neglecting religious activities. The trips are usually to quiet places to be able to live the Holy Week in depth without leaving a side the moments of recreation, but always being calm plans and far from any celebration that can incite sin, especially in these holy days.

Food in Holy Week

The menus during Holy Week vary according to the region, customs, tradition and interest that each person puts for this season. It is said that you can’t eat red meat during Holy Week, but chicken and pork are also usually restricted. In this way the consumption of fish increases, being the usual diet of the Holy Week.

Each family decides how to distribute the food throughout Holy Week, but what everyone does or at least a vast majority coincide is in suppressing red meat and eating fish on HolyFriday as it is the day Jesus died. Some people go a little further and choose to fast this day entirely, drinking only water and without tasting any food until Saturday as a sign of the deep pain caused by this date.

Where to travel during Holy Week?

The destinations in Colombia are endless and it will depend on each person or each family where they want to travel to spend these days. Although the beach is a place that everyone would like to visit at any time of the year, it is not the most requested during Holy Week, as it is a time to do quieter and calmer activities. Another reason is that only two days off are not enough to reach the beach, unless you travel from a nearby place. Therefore, those interested in living Holy Week are recommended to travel to small towns and municipalities. Here are some recommendations.

Sachica (Boyaca)

This municipality is famous for the Holy Week Live, a series of acting performances of each of the moments of this week. From Palm Sunday, different corners of the town become scenarios for the shows that increasingly call a larger audience. This is an ideal place for those who want to celebrate Holy Week in a more playful way in order to learn and have a very pleasant time. Sachica is just 15 minutes from Villa de Leyva where you can also enjoy an afternoon in this magical place.

Buga (Valle del Cauca)

This destination is one of the favorites to travel during Holy Week. The Lord of Miracles of Buga has many devotees, thanks to the fame he has acquired among the faithful for the miracles they have received, especially in requests related to the cure of diseases. People come permanently, especially during Holy Week, to thank all these blessings. Likewise, an even greater number of people come to this basilica to beg for the pain that afflicts them.

Jardin (Antioquia)

Paisas live Holy Week in a very fervent way. Jardin is a traditional place to spend each of the stages of this period, both in its gigantic church and in other parts of the town. The people of this region are very welcoming so it doesn't matter if it's in a hotel, in a rented house or in the central park, the family atmosphere will be present at all times.

¿How to travel in Holy Week?

Bus routes operate as usual, but during the high season many tickets tend to rise its prices, according to the demand of the destination. Therefore, it is advisable to purchase the tickets in advance so that they don’t run away and to choose a pleasant schedule, a bus with all the desired amenities and to return home in a timely manner. Go to redbus.co look for the destination you want to travel to in Holy Week, compare between the different operators, prices and schedules, choose your payment method and go!

The terminals are also often congested due to the high demand for tickets, so it is recommended to arrive with time so there's no problem with the lines and delays. The roads will have more traffic than usual, so in these cases the best thing to do is to travel early and when there is a congestion just relax and enjoy the scenery.

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Q: On what date is Holy Week celebrated?
A: Holy Week is celebrated exactly 40 days after Ash Wednesday. Each year its date varies but it is always celebrated after the end of that period. In 2020, Holy Week is scheduled to start on April 5 (Palm Sunday) and end on April 12 (Easter Sunday).
Q: Can I eat meat during Holy Week?
A: Food restrictions vary according to the traditions of each person. During Holy Week it is customary to leave red meat and have a fish-based diet, especially on Holy Friday, the day Jesus died and when Catholics usually suppress beef. There are people who even fast on Holy Friday and only eat again until Saturday.
Q: Can I buy my tickets for Holy Week in advance?
A: Yes. You can buy the tickets for Holy Week from now on and ensure your place and that the seat availability doesn’t run up due to the high demand generated by this long-awaited time. You can buy tickets by going to redbus.co. Keep in mind that prices can rise over time, so it is good to buy them at once, before they are more expensive or run out.
Q: How is Holy Week in Bogota?
A: As so many people leave Bogota to spend Holy Week in quieter places, it is believed that religious traditions are not so strong in big cities. However, Bogota stands out for having spectacular ceremonies in the different churches of the city, especially on the hill of Monserrate, where lots of people reach the top walking and some do it on their knees, to amend their sins. Without a doubt, living the Holy Week in Bogota is a very good option, both for those who could not travel and for those traveling from other regions of the country.
Q: What is a via crucis?
A: The Via Crucis is a commemoration where 14 specific events are remembered, since Jesus is condemned until he is crucified and finally dies. There are via crucis of all kinds. Usually, it consists of a crowd that travels through the 14 stations previously established, accompanied by a priest who reads the reference moment at each stop with his respective prayer. Usually images and religious sculptures are carried during the journey. In some cases, the crucis route can be acted or presented in a playful way.
Q: What is the weather like during Holy Week?
A: “¡Abril, aguas mil!” (April, a thousand waters!) Although each region of Colombia has a specific climate according to its area and thermal floor, it is well known that in general, April is a rainy season. This may vary from one place to another, but it is important to keep this in mind when choosing the destination to travel on Easter.