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Holy Saturday in Canada

Holy Saturday falls between Good Friday and Easter Sunday in Canada. It commemorates the day when Jesus Christ lay in the tomb after his death, according to the Christian bible. It is also known as Easter Eve.

La Pietà by Michelangelo
Many Christians in Canada remember Holy Saturday as the day before Jesus was resurrected.
Many Christians in Canada remember Holy Saturday as the day before Jesus was resurrected.
©iStockphoto.com/Edward Lin

What Do People Do?

Many Christians in Canada attend an Easter vigil service on Holy Saturday to mark the end of the Lent period before celebrating Easter. They remember Holy Saturday as the day when Jesus lay in his tomb. Many services are held in the evening of Holy Saturday, where the service begins in darkness and candles are later lit to proclaim Jesus Christ’s rising. Baptisms or renewals of baptismal promises are held in some churches on Holy Saturday.

Many Canadians take time off on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday to enjoy the long Easter weekend. Many people go on a trip to enjoy the short holiday break. Some people stay at resorts, cottages, or motels, while others choose bed and breakfast accommodation packages as part of the long weekend getaway.

Many families prepare Easter eggs on the Saturday before Easter. Children decorate eggs with paint, crayon, water colors, stickers and other material. These eggs are often placed in Easter baskets. Chocolate Easter eggs are popular around this time of the year.

Public Life

Holy Saturday is not a federal public holiday in Canada.

Background and Symbols

Holy Saturday is the last day of Holy Week and ends the season of Lent. It is also known as the Vigil of Easter. Holy Saturday has been observed in Canada for many years. Newspaper articles dating back to the 19th century have been written about Holy Saturday traditions and customs. One article (Winnipeg Free Press, February 24, 1877) discusses a Christian custom of abstaining from meat on Holy Saturday.

One tradition that still has symbolic significance today is lighting candles during the Easter vigil services. The lit candle signifies the light of Jesus Christ, and that he brings light into darkness. The candle used during the Easter vigil service is known as the Paschal candle.

About Holy Saturday in other countries

Read more about Holy Saturday.

Holy Saturday Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
SatApr 32010Holy SaturdayChristian 
SatApr 232011Holy SaturdayChristian 
SatApr 72012Holy SaturdayChristian 
SatMar 302013Holy SaturdayChristian 
SatApr 192014Holy SaturdayChristian 
SatApr 42015Holy SaturdayChristian 
SatMar 262016Holy SaturdayChristian 
SatApr 152017Holy SaturdayChristian 
SatMar 312018Holy SaturdayChristian 
SatApr 202019Holy SaturdayChristian 
SatApr 112020Holy SaturdayChristian 

Quick Facts

Holy Saturday is the day before Easter Sunday in Canada.

Holy Saturday 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Holy Saturday 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Name in other languages

Holy SaturdayEnglish
Samedi saintFrench

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in March 2016 in Canada

Fun Holiday on March 26, 2016

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