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6 Signs and Symbols of Holy Week

Updated: Apr 10

One way to express the importance of a subject to elementary school aged children is to share about it tangibly. There is weight in being able to smell, touch, feel, and even taste the concepts we teach. It can especially be hard to teach the lessons Scripture has to offer.

As Holy Week begins here are 6 signs and symbols to highlight during this most precious season of our Church.

Not only will these signs and symbols engage curiosity, they are also all very accessible and can be found around the house or in the yard. These paired with the story telling of the Gospels make for a fruitful Holy Week experience for the entire family.

This type of critical thinking and hands on learning is what we at Regina Angelorum Academy promote and it can be seen in how we carry out the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, implement the Montessori and Charlotte Mason Methods of teaching, and follow a Catholic Classical Curriculum.

1. A Towel and Basin of Water

towel and basin for holy thursday

“And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.” Jn 13: 3-5 (Holy Thursday)

2. A Thorn and Purple Garment

bird sitting on thorns resembling crown of thorns for good friday

“And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’” Mk 15: 17-18 (Good Friday)

3. Olive Oil

olive oil being poured to represent holy oil

Scripture tells us that God’s people used olive oil to anoint, consecrate, and heal. Catholic Bishops celebrate a Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday. They bless three types of oils: holy chrism oil, the oil of catechumens, and the oil of the sick. The sacred oils are used during the Easter Vigil, and throughout the year in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick.

“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.” Mt 26: 11-12

4. A Palm/Leafy Branch

palms with rain on them for palm sunday

“Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” — MT 11:1-10 (Palm Sunday)

5. 30 Pieces of Silver

silver coins to represent 30 silver coins from scripture

Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.” Mt 26: 14-16 (Wednesday of Holy Week)

6. A Cross

wooden cross for good friday

“So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.” Jn 19: 17-18 (Good Friday)

RAA in Ardmore, PA Montgomery County is a Mainline private school serving Pre-K through 8th grade students. The Catholic school is accredited by The National Association of Private Catholic Independent Schools.

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