What is Holy Saturday?
Holy Saturday occurred on the second day of the Easter Weekend, and falls after Good Friday. This day commemorates the day when the dead body of Jesus Christ was laid in the tomb. Also, this day marks the event of “Harrowing of Hell”, which in Christian Theology means the day when Jesus Christ triumphantly descended to Hell and brought salvation to all the righteous souls.
This day is known by other names in various cultures, some of which are the Great Sabbath, the Holy and Great Saturday, Hallelujah Saturday, Easter Eve, Black Saturday and much more. In Christianity, this day isn’t observed as the day of celebration, and instead people reflect on their actions and fast for the purification of their souls. In modern times, Holy Saturday is considered to be a normal day.
Is Holy Saturday a Public Holiday in Australia?
Holy Saturday is observed as a public holiday as per Holidays 2023 in four states, one external territory and two territories, i.e. Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Heard and McDonalds Islands, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory respectively. Therefore, government and public sector enterprises and offices, colleges, schools, universities, shopping centers and retail stores remain closed on this day. However, there can be selective gift shops and eating places open on this day and follow a restricted time schedule.
However, Tasmania and Western Australia do not consider this day as a bank as well as public holiday for the general population. Public transport services either can remain down or operate on restrictive hours on this day in these locations. Different states call this day by different names, which are:
- ACT: Easter Saturday
- New South Wales: Easter Saturday
- Northern Territory: Easter Saturday
- South Australia: The Day After Good Friday
- Queensland: The Day After Good Friday
- Victoria: Saturday before Easter Sunday
History of Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday history holds relevant significance and commemorates the beginning of its observance. In Australia, Holy Saturday is known by different names in different states, such as "The Day After Good Friday", "Saturday before Easter Sunday" and much more. However, Churches call this day as the “Holy Saturday”, “Easter Eve” or “Low Saturday” since it is a day of sombre remembrance. This is the day when the dead and injured body of Jesus Christ was laid in a tomb. Catholic Churches organize no mass on this day, and Holy Communion or Eucharist is given as a part of the Last Rites or Viaticum.
The Italian community in Ulladulla, NSW or New South Wales, holds the widely popular “Blessing of the Fleet Princess” festival. In this, blessings for the fishing fleet are offered by the community and is considered as an ancient tradition. This ritual began in 1956 in Sicily, Italy, and has been organised in Ulladulla since then. It is believed that it was in 1956 that Saint Peter was entitled as the Patron Saint of fishermen on the NSW Coast. People pray for plentiful catches and safe return of fishermen and their boats on this day.
The Sydney Royal Show in NSW goes on during the Easter Weekend, and is an annual event. Originally an agricultural show, the Sydney Royal Show has grown up to be a large-scale event and hosts a variety of cultural shows, live music, action shows, an amusement park, fairs, and much more. This Show celebrates the Australian culture and traditions and lays emphasis on religious and cultural unity.
Holy Saturday Celebrations in Australia
Holy Saturday, also known as Easter Saturday in several cultures, falls during the Easter weekend and is a day of remembrance. Australians use this opportunity to spend time with their loved ones, plan a weekend getaway and teach their kids and younger ones the significance of this day and how Jesus Christ took the pain of humanity upon himself.
Christians perform several rituals and attend Special Services held at Churches. The day of Holy Saturday marks an auspicious occasion for conducting marriages or christenings. On this day, the Easter Vigil begins, where people light the traditional Paschal Candle. This candle is white in color, marked with a cross and known to be the guide for lost souls.
Commonly, people purchase Chocolate Bilby, which is an Australian version of Easter Bunny. In Australia, rabbits are considered to be pests and one of the reasons for losses in farming. This is why Australian Bilby is now seen as the symbol of Easter in Australia. People decorate Easter eggs and prepare for the next day.
Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday
Easter Vigil is believed to have been carried out by the mourners of Jesus Christ after his death from crucifixion, which included his followers and family. This happened one day after he was crucified, after which his dead body was laid down in a tomb. Devotees utterly awaited his resurrection, which happened on the day of Easter Sunday. Therefore, Easter Vigil is carried out on Holy Saturday throughout the night, where people fast, stay awake and recite devotional verses.
Holy Saturday Observances
|2019||Sat||20 April||Holy Saturday||State Holiday|
|2020||Sat||11 April||Holy Saturday||State Holiday|
|2021||Sat||3 April||Holy Saturday||State Holiday|
|2022||Sat||16 April||Holy Saturday||State Holiday|
|2023||Sat||8 April||Holy Saturday||State Holiday|
|2024||Sat||30 March||Holy Saturday||State Holiday|
|2025||Sat||19 April||Holy Saturday||State Holiday|
1. Is Holy Saturday a bank holiday in Australia?
Holy Saturday is a bank holiday for all states and territories except Western Australia and Tasmania. Jarvis.
2. Is Holy Saturday a day of fasting?
In today’s time, fasting on Holy Saturday is optional, however, devout Christians fast on this day and avoid consuming meat.
3. How long is Holy Saturday Catholic Mass?
Holy Saturday Catholic Mass is approximately two hours long. However, it depends on state as well as culture.
4. What color symbolizes Holy Saturday?
Black, purple or violet. However, Churches remain stripped of any color on the day of Holy Saturday.
From the above information, it is evident that Holy Saturday 2023 in Australia is observed on 8 April, Saturday with great devotion and passion.
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