FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums

Full Version: Holy Week Traditions & Legends
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.

Back on Ash Wednesday, I posted a chapter from the Catholic Source Book on Lenten Legends, Traditions and their Origins. Click here: Lenten Traditions and their Origins - Traditional Catholic Forum  Here is the chapter on Holy Week.    
[Image: 99290~Women-Carrying-Lanterns-in-a-Good-...osters.jpg] HOLY WEEK:Holy Week refers to the week beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with Holy Saturday. It includes the last days of Lent.  Fig Sunday: This was a name for Palm Sunday because figs were eaten that day, memorializing the fig tree Jesus cursed after his entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11: 12-14).  Spy Wednesday: The name for Wednesday of Holy Week alludes to Judas agreeing with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus (Matthew 26: 3-5, 14-16).  Maundy Thursday: This is an ancient name for Holy Thursday that comes from Jesus' words at the Last Supper: in Latin, Mandatum novum da nobis ("I give you a new commandment..." (John 13: 34). That phrase began the ancient footwashing ceremony.  Shear Thursday: This name for Holy Thursday came about because of an ancient practice of trimming hair and beard that day as a sign of spiritual preparation for Easter.  [Image: 712-2110~Procession-Holy-Week-Cagliari-S...osters.jpg] Tre Ore (Italian: "Three Hours") This name refers to Christ's three hours on the cross and to the noon to 3:00pm Good Friday service. Tre Ore was traditionally a series of homilies on the seven last words of Christ, along with song, silence, and Stations of the Cross.  The Mass of the Pre-Sanctified: This is not a Mass at all but an old name for the Good Friday service which includes Holy Communion "Pre-Sanctified" (consecrated the night before at Holy Thursday's Mass). Good Friday remains the only day of the year without a Mass.  The Great Service of Light: Although not the heart of the Easter Vigil, this service is symbolically rich and a favorite prelude for the Exultet, readings, and the glorious Eucharist that follow it. Celebrated in the Middle Ages, it may even go back as far as the fourth century. The light of the Paschal candle represents the light Christ brought to a darkened world. It was all the more powerful as a symbol in the day when fire was struck from flint - of necessity, reminding the believer of the flame of faith which is struck from Christ, the cornerstone of the Church. [Image: tenebrae.jpg]  Tenebrae: The term means "darkness" in Latin. It refers to a public singing of Matins (a night office) and Lauds (a morning office), part of the old form of the Liturgy of the Hours. During the evenings of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, the liturgy had a tone of mourning and a ceremony of light, which used a triangular stand with fifteen candles. One by one these candles were extinguished until, after the last candle was put out, a prayer was offered in darkness. Only one candle was relit, and the assembly dispersed in silence.  The Triduum: The ancient Great Three Days, to which all leads and from which all flows, celebrate the heart of Christian faith: Jesus' redemptive death and resurrection. Related to the Church year as Sunday is related to each week, the Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, continues through Good Friday and Holy Saturday, culminates in the Easter Vigil, and concludes with Evening Prayer of Easter Sunday.  
[Image: pontius_pilate2.jpg]  No Rest for the Wicked: Isaiah has been quoted in Latin: Nemo malus felix (no bad person is happy), and we have often said: "No rest for the wicked." If this is true, there is abundant illustration in stories of Pilate's life after Good Friday. One tradition relates that his life became so unfortunate that he committed suicide in Rome during the reign of Caligula. Thereupon his body was disposed of in the Tiber, whose waters became so troubled by evil spirits that his corpse was retrieved and transported to Vienna. A similar disposal was attempted, this time into the Rhine, which washed Pilate's remains into the recesses of a lake on Mount Pilatus. This is too coincidental to ignore; It is more likely that it was the name of the lake that brought the story, not the river that brought the body. Pilatus earned its name from the westerly winds that cover it with a cloud cap (Latin: pileatus; pileus, felt cap).
 The mount named Pilatus has spawned yet another legend: After being banished by Tiberius to Gaul, Pilate wandered to Mount Pilatus and threw himself into a black lake on its summit. Ever since, the ghost of Pilate reappears on the mountain annually; anyone cursed with a glimpse of the ghost is destined to die before another year is over. (A sixteenth-century law prohibited the throwing of stones in the lake for fear of bringing a tempest on the country.)  Flowers on Calvary: It is not uncommon for a plant to have a Christian fable associated with it, as with the aspen and the passion flower. The red anemone, the purple orchis (orchid), the arum, and the spotted persicaria were all stained red, it is said, by blood falling from the crucified Christ. The "Calvary Flower" (common trefoil, medicago echinus) is said to have sprung up in the footsteps taken by Pilate when he walked to the crucifixion "to see his title affixed" (I.N.R.I).  There are resemblances in the flower to crucifixion symbols; that is, in the center of each of its three leaves is a carmine spot, which takes on a cross form in the daylight hours. Moreover, the plant sports a little yellow flower that resembles a crown of thorns.  Adam's Grave: The Holy Land includes many holy places, but none so venerable, some say, as the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. This favorite place of pilgrimage has many chapels, favorites being the Chapel of Saint Helena and the True Cross, and the Chapel of Adam. The place of the Lord's crucifixion (which we call Calvary) was called Golgotha in Aramaic, meaning "place of the skull." It was called that in tradition, relate St. Jerome and others, because of the ancient legend that Christ was crucified on the very spot in which Adam was buried, so that the blood of Jesus would have poured down its redemptive stream upon humankind's first guilty head. The skull and crossbones that appear occasionally at the foot of a crucifix are a remnant of this legend. Golgotha is a fitting name for this holy hill (which itself resembles a skull), on which the second Adam's obedience culminated.  Birds at the Crucifixion: The story of the red-breasted robin is a favorite, but there are others. An example is the Scandinavian legend that explains the origins of the swallow's name: Hovering over the crucified Christ, the bird cooed its consolation, "Svala, svala" (Console, console). Ever since, the swallow has been referred to as the bird of consolation. There is also a legend of the crossbill. Longfellow is one who has told this medieval fable of a bird at the cross of Christ. The Savior memorialized its efforts to pull the nails from the cross with its beak. To this day the bird is decorated with distinctive red plumage and an obliquely crossed bill, thus meriting a name that always recalls its mercy.  
[Image: 10075897~Judas-Identifies-Jesus-to-the-S...osters.jpg]Judas Greeting Countered: There is an impressive practice among the Syrian and Chaldean Christians (those using the East Syrian Rite, mostly in Syria, Iraq, and Iran). They put aside their customary "Shlama" (Peace be with you) greeting on Good Friday and Holy Saturday because that's how Judas Iscariot greeted Christ when he betrayed him. Instead, for these two days they substitute the salute: "The light of God be with your departed ones."
 Veneration in Old Russia: The Good Friday veneration of the cross was done with special solemnity in Russia: A silver coffin, bearing a cross surrounded with candles and flowers, was displayed in the middle of the church. The faithful, creeping on their knees, then came to kiss the cross and venerate the image of Christ's body painted on a "winding sheet."
 Soon, I'll post the traditions of the Holy Easter season: Easter Sunday to Bright Sunday (Octave of Easter) to Whitsunday (Pentecost).
 - Lisa
That's great Lisa. Thanks.
Those are beautiful traditions.
Lisa -
Thank you!!!
This is really great.
You're welcome, everyone. I love the Catholic Source Book!
May you all have a blessed Holy Week.
- Lisa

Thank you Lisa very much those are great traditions. I love stuff like this.
Fisheaters has tons of stuff on Holy Week traditions: