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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.

Is Holy Saturday a Public Holiday?

Holy Saturday is not a public holiday. It falls on Saturday, April 20, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Saturday opening hours in Canada.

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010SatApr 3Holy SaturdayChristian 
2011SatApr 23Holy SaturdayChristian 
2012SatApr 7Holy SaturdayChristian 
2013SatMar 30Holy SaturdayChristian 
2014SatApr 19Holy SaturdayChristian 
2015SatApr 4Holy SaturdayChristian 
2016SatMar 26Holy SaturdayChristian 
2017SatApr 15Holy SaturdayChristian 
2018SatMar 31Holy SaturdayChristian 
2019SatApr 20Holy SaturdayChristian 
2020SatApr 11Holy SaturdayChristian 

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