Holy Saturday

By Follower of Hieronymus Bosch, Christ in Limbo

Saturday before Easter

The day between Christ’s death and resurrection is known as Holy Saturday, Black Saturday, or Easter Even. It is a day of solemnity and prayer. As the day before Easter, it is the last day of the Triduum, which commemorate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Holy Saturday was the day Jesus triumphantly descended to Hell, and so it was a day of reflection. Churches would not hold services, and the altar, which on Good Friday would have been dressed in twigs and branches, would be stripped bare.

Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

1 Peter 4:5–7, KJV

Candles or fires would be lit as a vigil for Jesus during his time in darkness, to light his way back from Hell, and bellringers would prepare for midnight when they would ring out the end of the day and the beginning of Eastertide. In some areas, church bells would have been silent since Good Friday, with no signal of the time until the day had passed.

Holy Saturday is less significant in modern day Britain than it was historically, with Good Friday and Easter taking higher prominence within the national calendar.

Follower of Hieronymus Bosch, Christ in Limbo
Follower of Hieronymus Bosch, Christ in Limbo, Public Domain
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