On Great and Holy Saturday, the Orthodox Church commemorates the burial of Christ, the day between the Crucifixion of our Lord and His glorious Resurrection. Holy Saturday morning is the first announcement of the Resurrection.
Traditions at home
On the morning of Holy Saturday, preparations begin for the next day’s Easter feast. The traditional mayiritsa soup, which uses the organs and intestines of the lamb that will be roasted, is prepared and eaten after the midnight service.
On Holy Saturday, children will also light their special labatha if they have one, traditional given by their Godparents. Though the candle itself is typically white, it can be lavishly decorated with favourite children’s heroes or storybook characters.
Shortly before midnight, all lights are to be turned off in the house, awaiting for midnight. When the clock passes midnight, the Priest calls out “Christos Anesti” (“Christ is risen”) and passes on the flame (the light of the Resurrection) While we cannot receive the flame from home, a flame transferred through a holy candle, and distributed among the family, is set to symbolise Jesus’ light of resurrection.
Friends and neighbours also exchange “Christos Anesti” with one another as a way of wishing one another well. In response, they will say “Alithos Anesti” (“truly, He is risen”) or “Alithinos o Kyrios” (“true is the Lord”).
At Home Activities
- Watch Divine Liturgy Online
- Listen for the story of God creating the world
- See the procession with bay leaves – Touch and Smell the Bay Leaf included in your kit
- Make joyful noise for the announcement of the first Resurrection
Holy Saturday Prayer
When he took down Your immaculate Body from the Cross, the honorable Joseph wrapped it in a clean linen shroud with spices and laid it for burial in a new tomb.
When You descended unto death, O Lord who yourself are immortal Life, then did You mortify Hades by the lightning flash of Your Divinity. Also when You raised the dead from the netherworld, all the Powers of the heavens were crying out: O Giver of life, Christ our God, glory be to You.
The Angel standing at the sepulcher cried out and said to the ointment- bearing women: The ointments are appropriate for mortal men, but Christ has been shown to be a stranger to decay.