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What Is Holy Saturday?

Some churches will not perform weddings during the period of Lent.
For Christians, Holy Saturday is a day of anticipation for Christ's resurrection.
Communion ceremonies are generally not performed on Holy Saturday.
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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 22 July 2014
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In the Christian church, Holy Saturday is the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In some Christian traditions, this day may be known by other names, including Black Saturday, Easter Eve, or the Holy and Great Saturday. Traditions for Holy Saturday vary from church to church, but often reflect the somber nature of this day during which Christ lay in his tomb. In many churches, the day is characterized with fasting and strict religious observance, and access to the sacraments may be severely restricted.

During Lent, the period of the Christian calendar that commemorates the time leading up to the passion and death of Christ, many Christian churches impose restrictions on their members so as to encourage a mindfulness of Christ's sacrifice. In some churches, weddings are not celebrated during this time and church members may be encouraged to practice a limited fast, such as refraining from eating certain foods, or may give up other pleasures during this time. Lent ends with Holy Week, which begins with Palm Sunday, during which Jesus's entry into Jerusalem is remembered. On Good Friday, Christians remember the death of Christ on the cross, leaving Holy Saturday as a day of anticipation of Christ's resurrection.

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The churches that use altar coverings in colors that correspond to the liturgical year may remove these coverings entirely after the Holy Thursday service, leaving the altar bare over Holy Saturday. In some churches, however, the altar may be covered in black cloths until Easter Sunday. The Eucharist is generally not celebrated over Holy Saturday or Good Friday; however, there are situations in which the Eucharist and other sacraments may be performed in serious cases, such as if a person is dying and wants to receive communion. Churches will still hold services, however, with many celebrating an extended Easter vigil as all wait together to celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Some Eastern European cultures inject a more festive note in Holy Saturday celebrations with the custom of the blessing of the baskets. In many liturgical churches, the period of Lent is marked by significant dietary restrictions. In the Eastern Orthodox churches, for example, church members are generally asked to refrain from eating meat, eggs, and dairy products. With Easter Sunday, these foods can once again be consumed and are often featured at a celebratory meal on Easter Sunday. Families will gather the staples of an Easter meal into a basket and bring them to church for the priest to bless.

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Discuss this Article

chrisinbama
Post 3

@BoatHugger- Many Episcopalians also give up something to honor Jesus. Catholics and Episcopalians are very similar in their beliefs and strongly believe in giving up something they enjoy during Lent, such as meat.

cmsmith10
Post 2

@BoatHugger- It is mainly the Catholic religion that doesn’t eat meat on Friday during Lent. Catholic’s considered it as a way of honoring Jesus for his sacrifice. In addition, people of the Catholic faith will also give up something they enjoy, as a way of honoring Jesus during Lent. Some give up television, sweets, and other things in order to devote more time to Jesus.

BoatHugger
Post 1

I have heard that there are some religions that don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent. Is that true and if so, why?

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