What is Holy Saturday? Can you eat meat on the day before Easter?
The death and resurrection of Jesus is the most significant event in the Christian calendar, with Easter Sunday being the holiest day of the year. Holy Saturday or the Black Saturday, is the final day of the Holy Week just before Easter.
What is Holy Saturday?
Holy Saturday takes place right after Good Friday and marks the day Jesus’ body was placed into the tomb after being crucified on the cross by the Romans.
It is also the third day of the Easter Triduum, which begins with the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday, Christ’s Passion on Good Friday and ends with the Easter Vigil in the evening on Saturday.
Churches typically do not hold mass on Holy Saturday, and any planned masses will also not go ahead this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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Why is Holy Saturday important?
In Christian theology Holy Saturday marks the day Jesus descended into hell after being crucified on the cross.
This is known as the Harrowing – when Jesus entered the pits of hell to retribute all the souls who have died since the world began.
This allowed the trapped souls to find salvation and go to heaven.
Holy Saturday is also the day of the Easter Vigil, when Christians all across the world will wait in the late evening hours to make the resurrection of Christ.
Holy Saturday only lasts till 6pm or dusk, after which the Easter Vigil takes over and the Easter season starts.
Can you eat meat on Holy Saturday?
In the early days of the Church, Holy Saturday was the only Saturday when fasting was permitted.
Today, however, there is no requirement for fasting but Christians might still choose to limit their meals or not eat meat.
It is also custom to eat fish on Good Friday, especially for Catholics.
Meat was seen as a worthy sacrifice as it was linked with feasts and celebrations.
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In ancient cultures meat was seen as a delicacy and “the fattened calf” wasn’t slaughtered unless there was something to celebrate.
Fridays were seen as a day of penance so eating meat on a Friday to “celebrate” the death of Jesus didn’t sit well with the Church.
Celebrations of the Holy Week began on Palm Sunday, which was on April 5.
Palm Sunday marks the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
The next big event is maundy Thursday – a day which celebrates Jesus’ Last Supper with his 12 apostles.
The following day Christians mourn Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday.
Good Friday is followed by Holy Saturday and The Easter Vigil when faithful believers await the resurrection of Christ.
The Easter period then begins with Easter Sunday which is the single holiest day celebrated in the religion.
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