Orthodox Holy Saturday in the United States
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.
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.
The Christian Orthodox date for Holy Saturday is not a federal public holiday in the United States.
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.
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 countriesRead more about Orthodox Holy Saturday.
Orthodox Holy Saturday Observances
|Weekday||Date||Year||Name||Holiday Type||Where It is Observed|
|Sat||Apr 3||2010||Orthodox Holy Saturday||Orthodox|
|Sat||Apr 23||2011||Orthodox Holy Saturday||Orthodox|
|Sat||Apr 14||2012||Orthodox Holy Saturday||Orthodox|
|Sat||May 4||2013||Orthodox Holy Saturday||Orthodox|
|Sat||Apr 19||2014||Orthodox Holy Saturday||Orthodox|
|Sat||Apr 11||2015||Orthodox Holy Saturday||Orthodox|
|Sat||Apr 30||2016||Orthodox Holy Saturday||Orthodox|
|Sat||Apr 15||2017||Orthodox Holy Saturday||Orthodox|
|Sat||Apr 7||2018||Orthodox Holy Saturday||Orthodox|
|Sat||Apr 27||2019||Orthodox Holy Saturday||Orthodox|
|Sat||Apr 18||2020||Orthodox Holy Saturday||Orthodox|
Quick FactsMany Orthodox Christians in the United States remember Jesus Christ’s burial and his descent into Hades on Holy Saturday.
Orthodox Holy Saturday 2016Saturday, April 30, 2016
Orthodox Holy Saturday 2017Saturday, April 15, 2017
Name in other languages
|Orthodox Holy Saturday||English|
|Ortodoxa Sábado Santo||Spanish|
|אורתודוקסי יום שבת הקדוש||Hebrew|
|الأرثوذكسية السبت المقدس||Arabic|
|정교회 거룩한 토요일||Korean|
- Orthodox Good Friday – Friday, April 29, 2016
- Orthodox Easter – Sunday, May 1, 2016
- Orthodox Easter Monday – Monday, May 2, 2016
Other holidays in April 2017 in the United States
- Pascua Florida Day – Sunday, April 2, 2017
- Pascua Florida Day – Monday, April 3, 2017
- National Tartan Day – Thursday, April 6, 2017
- Palm Sunday – Sunday, April 9, 2017
- Passover (first day) – Tuesday, April 11, 2017
- Maundy Thursday – Thursday, April 13, 2017
- Orthodox Good Friday – Friday, April 14, 2017
- Holy Saturday – Saturday, April 15, 2017
- Orthodox Easter – Sunday, April 16, 2017
- Orthodox Easter Monday – Monday, April 17, 2017
- Last Day of Passover – Tuesday, April 18, 2017
- San Jacinto Day – Friday, April 21, 2017
- Oklahoma Day – Saturday, April 22, 2017
- Yom HaShoah – Monday, April 24, 2017
- State Holiday – Wednesday, April 26, 2017
- Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day – Thursday, April 27, 2017
- Arbor Day – Friday, April 28, 2017