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Orthodox Holy Saturday in United States

Quick Facts

Many Orthodox Christians in the United States remember Jesus Christ’s burial and his descent into Hades on Holy Saturday.

Local names

NameLanguage
Orthodox Holy SaturdayEnglish
Ortodoxa Sábado SantoSpanish
אורתודוקסי יום שבת הקדושHebrew
الأرثوذكسية السبت المقدسArabic
정교회 거룩한 토요일Korean
Orthodoxer KarsamstagGerman

Orthodox Holy Saturday 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Orthodox Holy Saturday 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015
List of dates for other years

Holy Saturday is the day when Jesus lay in his tomb after his death, according to Christian belief. Many Orthodox Christian churches in the United States often observe Holy Saturday at a later date than the Holy Saturday date observed by many western churches. Holy Saturday is also known as Holy and Great Saturday.

Orthodox Christians walking around a church on Easter Eve.

©iStockphoto.com/VichoT

What do people do?

Many Orthodox Christians in the United States view Holy Saturday as the day of watchful expectation. The mourning period wanes and people wait for Easter Sunday, the day when Jesus was resurrected. Holy Communion can be received on Holy Saturday in some Orthodox churches in the United States.

Some churches hold a midnight liturgy between Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. The liturgy usually starts out in darkness, representing the tomb’s darkness, before candles are lit. It is customary in many churches for the clergy and congregation to hold candles as they sing. This practices stems from ancient Christian burial rituals.

Public life

The Christian Orthodox date for Holy Saturday is not a federal public holiday in the United States.

Background

Many Orthodox churches retained the Julian calendar after the Gregorian calendar was introduced in Europe in 1582. Therefore they often follow a different Easter date compared with many western churches. Easter holidays, such as Holy Saturday, are “moveable feasts” as these dates change according to calendar calculations. Holy Saturday is the day between Jesus’ death and his resurrection.

There are different types of Orthodox churches that are well established in the United States. Some of these churches include the Greek Hellenic Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, and the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church in North America can be traced back to the late 18th century, where a Russian church was built on Kodiak Island in Alaska during that period.  Alaska was previously part of Russia until the United States bought the land. The number of Greek Orthodox churches grew as Greek immigration increased after the late 19th century in the United States.

Symbols

Candles that are lit during Holy Saturday church liturgies symbolize Jesus Christ’s victory over death, as well as the Christian belief in his resurrection. It can also mean spiritual hope and victory.

About Orthodox Holy Saturday in other countries

Read more about Orthodox Holy Saturday.

Orthodox Holy Saturday Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
SatApr 141990Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 61991Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 251992Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 171993Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 301994Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 221995Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 131996Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 261997Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 181998Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 101999Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 292000Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 142001Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatMay 42002Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 262003Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 102004Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 302005Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 222006Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 72007Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 262008Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 182009Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 32010Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 232011Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 142012Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatMay 42013Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 192014Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 112015Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 302016Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 152017Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 72018Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 272019Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 
SatApr 182020Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox 

Related holidays

Other holidays in April 2014 in United States

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