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Orthodox Holy Saturday in Australia

Holy Saturday is the day when Jesus lay in his tomb after his death, according to Christian belief. Many Orthodox Christian churches in Australia 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.

Many Orthodox Christians remember the day Jesus (image pictured above) was buried in his tomb on Holy Saturday.
Many Orthodox Christians remember the day Jesus (image pictured above) was buried in his tomb on Holy Saturday.
©iStockphoto.com/Babu Rangasamy

What Do People Do?

Many Orthodox churches in Australia mark Holy Saturday as the day of watchful expectation. The mourning period wanes and people wait for Easter Sunday, which is the day when Jesus was resurrected. Holy Saturday marks the end of the Lent period. It is part of Holy Week, which is a special fasting period to honor Jesus Christ’s Passion.

Greek Orthodox churches in Australia usually hold a liturgy in the evening on Holy Saturday. The ceremony of lighting candles occurs during midnight between Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. This is one of the most significant moments of the year for many Greek Orthodox Christians. This practice involves people taking their lit candles home. They make a cross with the candle smoke on top of the door before entering the house. The oil candle is then lit before an icon-stand. Many people of Greek Orthodox Christian faith try to keep this light burning throughout the year.

Public Life

The Christian Orthodox date for Holy Saturday is not a public holiday in Australia.


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.

There are different types of Orthodox churches in Australia, including the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church. There are many Greek Orthodox Christians in Australia. The federal government’s 2006 census recorded that there were 109,980 Greece-born people in Australia, with the largest numbers in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland. The census also showed that 100,460 Greece-born Australians are of the Eastern Orthodox faith.


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 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 

Quick Facts

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

Orthodox Holy Saturday 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Orthodox Holy Saturday 2018

Saturday, April 7, 2018


Name in other languages

Orthodox Holy SaturdayEnglish
Orthodoxer KarsamstagGerman

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in April 2018 in Australia

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