Holy Week, which begins from Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday, marks the last week of Lent, during which Christians are called on to fast, pray and give alms to the needy. Holy Week is celebrated by Christians around the world to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In Spain, Holy Week, or Semana Santa, is the most important religious period of the year. Processions featuring hooded figures are held on the streets of almost every city. Each city has several religious brotherhoods, often dating back to the Middle Ages. The colours of the robes and hoods signify membership of the different brotherhoods.

Holy Week Spain
A penitent waits to take part in the Huerto brotherhood procession in MalagaJorge Guerrero/AFP
Holy Week Spain
Penitents of the Siete Palabras brotherhood make their penance during a Holy Week procession in the Andalusian capital of SevilleMarcelo del Pozo/Reuters
Holy Week Spain
A penitent takes part in a procession of the El Nazareno brotherhood inside the Mezquita of CordobaJavier Barbancho/Reuters
Holy Week Spain
Penitents from the El Calvario brotherhood take part in a Holy Week procession in the Mezquita in CordobaJavier Barbancho/Reuters
Holy Week Spain
Penitents hold candles as they take part in the procession of the Los Gitanos brotherhood during Holy Week in MalagaJon Nazca/Reuters
Holy Week Spain
A penitent from the El Calvario brotherhood takes part in a Holy Week procession in Cordoba, southern SpainJavier Barbancho/Reuters
Holy Week Spain
Hooded penitents from the Cristo de los Gitanos brotherhood parade during a procession in GranadaJorge Guerrero/AFP
Holy Week Spain
A members of a brotherhood participates in a procession during Holy Week in La Laguna on the Spanish Canary Island of TenerifeDesiree Martin/AFP
Holy Week Spain
Hooded members of the Los Estudiantes brotherhood hold candles during a procession in SevilleCristina Quicler/AFP
Holy Week Spain
A hooded member of the Los Estudiantes brotherhood holds a candle in church during a procession in SevilleCristina Quicler/AFP
Holy Week Spain
Penitents take part in the San Gonzalo brotherhood procession in SevilleCristina Quicler/AFP
Holy Week Spain
Penitents take part in the San Gonzalo brotherhood procession in SevilleCristina Quicler/AFP

Penance during Holy Week in the Philippines is more rigorous, taking on element of Christ's suffering.

Some penitents bare their backs for flagellation – getting beaten until they bleed by men portraying Roman soldiers.

holy week philippines
A man beats a penitent in front of a chapel during a Holy Week flagellation ritual in Angeles city, Pampanga in the PhilippinesLorgina Minguito/Reuters
holy week philippines
holy week philippines
A boy cries while looking at a penitent called a 'Morione' during a parade along the streets of Boac town on Marinduque island in the PhilippinesRomeo Ranoco/Reuters
holy week philippines
Children covered with mud and leaves parade along in Boac town on Marinduque island in the Philippines to show devotion to their faithRomeo Ranoco/Reuters

Venezuelans flock to the Basilica of Saint Teresa to venerate Saint Paul the Nazarene as part of Holy Week celebrations.

Wearing purple tunics, the faithful flock to the church in Caracas where the sacred image of Saint Paul the Nazarene heads the annual sunset procession.

Some followers arrive on their knees, barefoot or carrying a cross, thankful to the saint for miracles they credit to his intercession.

holy week venezuela
A Venezuelan penitent crawls on hands and knees at Santa Teresa's Basilica during Holy Week in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
holy week venezuela
A Venezuelan penitent wearing a crown of thorns attends mass at Santa Teresa's Basilica during Holy Week in CaracasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
holy week venezuela
Catholic faithful visit Santa Therese's church in Caracas, Venezuela, during Holy WeekFederico Parra/AFP

In other parts of the world, Catholics staged Passion plays, re-enacting bible stories and telling of Christ's last few hours on Earth before his crucifixion.

The crucifixion itself is commemorated on Good Friday, which this year falls on 3 April 2015. IBTimes UK wishes all Christians a happy Easter.

Holy Week photos
Actors playing Adam and Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden take part in a re-enactment during a Holy Week procession in Luque, ParaguayJorge Adorno/Reuters
Holy Week Luque
Students perform a scene of the Stations of the Cross commemorating Jesus Christ's last hours, during Holy Week celebrations in Luque, ParaguayNorberto Duarte/AFP
Holy Week Luque
An actor portrays Christ during his last hours in a Passion play in Luque, ParaguayNorberto Duarte/AFP