Holy Saturday - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Holy Saturday (Latin: Sabbatum Sanctum) i.e. the Saturday of Holy Week, also known as the Great Sabbath, Black Saturday, or Easter Eve, and called "Joyous Saturday" or "the Saturday of Light" among the Copts, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter. It commemorates the day that Jesus Christ's body lay in the tomb.
Holy Saturday is sometimes referred to as Easter Saturday, though on the religious calendar this phrase is more correctly applied to the Saturday in Easter Week.
On this day, the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows is assigned the title Our Lady of Solitude, referring to her solace and lonely emotional state associated with grievance and mourning.
All Masses are severely limited. No Mass at all appears in the normal liturgy for this day, although Mass can be said on Good Friday and on Holy Saturday for an extremely grave or solemn situation with a dispensation from the Vatican or the local bishop. Many of the churches of the Anglican Communion as well as Lutheran, Methodist, and some other Churches observe most of the same; however, their altars may be covered in black instead of being stripped.
Liturgically speaking, Holy Saturday lasts until 6pm or dusk, after which the Easter Vigil is celebrated, marking the official start of the Easter season.
In Eastern Orthodoxy this day, known as Holy and Great Saturday, is also called The Great Sabbath since it is on this day that Christ "rested" physically in the tomb. But it is also believed that it was on this day he performed in spirit the Harrowing of Hades and raised up to Paradise those who had been held captive there. In the Coptic, Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches, this day is known as Joyous Saturday.
Just before the Gospel reading (Matthew 28:1-20) the hangings, altar cloths, and vestments are changed from black to white and the deacon performs a censing of the church. In the Greek tradition the clergy strew laurel leaves and flower petals all over the church to symbolize the shattered gates and broken chains of hell and Jesus' victory over death. While the liturgical atmosphere changes from sorrow to joy at this service, the Paschal greeting, "Christ is risen!" is not exchanged until after the Paschal Vigil later that night, and the faithful continue to fast. The reason for this is that the Divine Liturgy on Holy and Great Saturday represents the proclamation of Jesus' victory over death to those in Hades, but the Resurrection has not yet been announced to those on earth (this will take place during the Paschal Vigil).
Passiontide (in the Christian liturgical year) is a name for the last two weeks of Lent, beginning on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, long celebrated as Passion Sunday, and ending on Holy Saturday.
In the Roman Catholic Church, and in Anglo-Catholic churches, all crucifixes and images may be covered in veils (usually violet, the color of vestments in Lent) starting on Passion Sunday: "The practice of covering crosses and images in the church may be observed, if the episcopal conference decides. The crosses are to be covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord's passion on Good Friday. Statues and images are to remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil." (Specifically, those veils are removed during the singing of the Gloria.) The veiling was associated with Passion Sunday's Gospel (John 8:46-59), in which Jesus "hid himself" from the people.
Much music has been written for Passiontide or rather for the last days of Holy Week. Passion cantatas have been composed to texts in a variety of languages, taking as their theme the hours or days before the Crucifixion of Christ. Many settings have been made of the Latin poem Stabat Mater, which describes Mary standing in front of the Cross watching her son die (the Feast of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin is observed on Friday in Passion Week), and the lessons from the Tenebrae service have been set by a variety of composers.
Several composers have also set to music the last words of Christ on the Cross, e.g. Joseph Haydn (Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze) and Heinrich Schütz (Die sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz).
Notice that there are special hymns for Palm Sunday, thus hymns for Passiontide may be squeezed out on that day (which is the last Sunday of Lent).