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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.

Is Orthodox Holy Saturday a Public Holiday?

Even though Orthodox Holy Saturday falls on Saturday, April 18, 2020, it is a working day. Most businesses follow regular opening hours in Australia.

Jesus

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.

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.

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.

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015SatApr 11Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox
2016SatApr 30Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox
2017SatApr 15Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox
2018SatApr 7Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox
2019SatApr 27Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox
2020SatApr 18Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox
2021SatMay 1Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox
2022SatApr 23Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox
2023SatApr 15Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox
2024SatMay 4Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox
2025SatApr 19Orthodox Holy SaturdayOrthodox

We diligently research and continuously update our holiday dates and information. If you find a mistake, please let us know.

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