Holy Wednesday is an important Holy Week Day for the people of Christian faith. The day commemorates some very major events that preceded Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross. Today, the celebrations for this day are reading particular scriptures, singing hymns, and burning an effigy of Judas.
Holy Wednesday: Learning the Meaning of Holy Week Wednesday & The True Definition that this day holds for Catholic-Orthodox Churches!
The Wednesday of Holy Week is called Holy Wednesday. The day falls after Palm Sunday, Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday. The day is followed by Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday, and Easter Sunday.
Holy Wednesday is also called: Good Wednesday, Spy Wednesday, Holy and Great Wednesday, Holy Week Wednesday.
The day recalls major events like Judas’ decision to betray Jesus, and also the anointment of Jesus at Bethany.
*Do you know? Holy Week Wednesday is sometimes called Spy Wednesday. On this day, Judas betrayed Jesus and because of the sneakiness of Judas, the image of a spy has been advocated by his action.
Also Read: What is Good Friday?
Holy Wednesday History: A Complete Insight Into The Important Events that Happened on The Wednesday of Holy Week
Every day of Holy Week is marked with special events of Jesus’ life, and Holy Wednesday is no different. After Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, his cursing of the fig tree on Holy Monday, and his Olivet Discourse on Holy Tuesday comes the Holy Wednesday.
Also Read: What happened on Holy Monday?
This day is important because of the two major incidents that happened on this day: Judas Betrayal – Jesus’ Anointment at Bethany. Let’s discuss these incidents and learn what really happened on Holy Wednesday.
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
After Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Sanhedrin and religious leaders of that time got jealous of the incredible treatment that Jesus was receiving from the general public. They felt threatened by the love and respect Jesus was gaining.
So this jealous group of people got together with Judas Iscariot, a disciple of Jesus who too was jealous of all the love Jesus was receiving. The Sanhedrin plotted to kill Jesus, while Judas the Iscariot agreed to betray Jesus and hand him over to the Sanhedrin for some money (30 pieces of silver).
The Gospel of Luke recounts this event of Holy Wednesday in the following words:
Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22:3-6)
Jesus Gets Anointed at Bethany
Another important event of Holy Wednesday is the anointment of Jesus at Bethany. In Christian scriptures, it is mentioned that while Jesus was in Bethany, he reclined at the table in the home of Simon the Leper. Meanwhile, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure Spikenard (a flowering plant). She opened the jar and blessed Jesus with this expensive perfume.
Regarding this incident of Holy Wednesday (Matthew 26:6-13) says:
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Also Read: What is Holy Tuesday?
Holy Wednesday Celebrations: A Look Into The Customs, Traditions & Activities of Good Wednesday in Different Christian Churches
Holy Wednesday is celebrated in different Christian churches, usually with readings of different scriptures and singing of related hymns. In Catholic Christianity, Tenebrae (a liturgy) is celebrated on Good Wednesday. During this service, all the candles on the altar table are slowly extinguished until the temple is in full darkness. At complete darkness, there is a loud clash symbolizing Jesus’ death and the earthquake that followed Jesus’ Crucifixion on Good Friday.
In some churches, especially the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, this day is known as Holy and Great Wednesday. The main theme of the day is the commemoration of the woman who anointed Jesus with an expensive perfume, while the second theme commemorates the agreement signed by Judas to betray Jesus. The day usually begins with the Presanctified Liturgy, followed by the Matins Bridegroom Service and the singing of hymns. Many Orthodox Christians also fast on this Wednesday.
The most common hymn for Holy Wednesday is the Hymn of Kassiani, which reflects the story of the women who anointed Jesus. The musical composition of this hymn expresses the poetry to such a great degree that it often leaves the listeners in a state of prayerful tears.
*Do you know? In the Czech Republic, Holy Wednesday is traditionally called Soot-Sweeping Wednesday, because chimneys are usually swept on this day, to be cleaned for Easter Sunday celebrations.
For some people, the day is all about reading the events that happened on Holy Wednesday, reading the Bible verses regarding this day and preparing themselves for the very special upcoming days such as Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Holy Wednesday Quotes & Images: A Collection of Latest Holy Week Wednesday Verses and Messages for your Loved Ones!
With the observance of Holy Wednesday, Christians around the world would be entering the Triduum. This will be a period of harmony, reflection, and prayer for all Christians. Have a look at Holy Wednesday quotes and prepare yourself for the Passion of Christ.
Holy Wednesday Mass Readings:
Holy Wednesday Greeting Quotes:
- May you have the gift of faith, the blessing of hope and the peace of His love today… God bless you.
- He has risen. Have faith in Him and He will always be there for you!
- On this Good Wednesday, May His light guide your path. May His love grace your heart. And may His sacrifice grace your soul.
- But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes, we are healed.
- As we approach this holy week, may we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ? Not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear.
Holy Wednesday is the day on when Jesus was betrayed by his disciple Judas. Want to know more about Holy Wednesday? We present you a list of Good Wednesday trivia questions and answers.
Can you eat meat on Spy Wednesday or Holy Wednesday?
There is no such rule or law that states you cannot eat meat on the Wednesday of Holy Week. Since the days of Holy Week are observed in respect and remembrance of the sacrifice made by Jesus, so it’s considered generally nice to not to eat meat the entire week.
Is Holy Wednesday a holiday?
Holy Wednesday is not a holiday. Businesses, schools, offices, and all other commercial activities are fully active as usual.
What comes after Holy Wednesday?
What is the Wednesday before Easter called?
The Wednesday before Easter is Holy Wednesday or Good Wednesday or Spy Wednesday.
When is Holy Wednesday 2019?
Holy Wednesday Catholic 2019: Wednesday, 17 April
Holy Wednesday Orthodox 2019: Wednesday, 24 April
Holy Wednesday Greek Orthodox 2019: Wednesday, 24 April