17 Must-Know Easter Vigil Facts About 'Holy Saturday' Evening | Kidadl


17 Must-Know Easter Vigil Facts About 'Holy Saturday' Evening

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Easter Vigil, also known as the Paschal Vigil or the Great Vigil, is the first celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It is a liturgy that is held in a traditional Christian church the day before Easter around the world, usually at midnight but some time before sunrise.

Easter or Paschal Vigil observes the death of Christ and his resurrection, and takes place in darkness. People light Easter Vigil fires on Holy Saturday in front of the church to remove the darkness as this is symbolic of the light of Christ. The Easter Vigil Mass lasts a maximum of three hours and, during this time, attendees offer prayers to their families and can also observe the scriptures. This day marks Christ's triumphal ascent to Heaven.

Have you enjoyed reading our Easter Vigil facts? Are you interested in reading more about the meaning, significance, history, and customs of this Easter celebration? Then read on for more interesting information about the Christian festival, including its meaning to Christians across the world, its significance, the history of the Easter Vigil, as well as customs and traditions of this service of light.

Easter Vigil Meaning

If you are interested in reading more about the Easter Vigil, then read to discover more about what the occasion means to Christians around the globe. Historically, the Paschal Vigil liturgy starts after the sun sets on the Holy Saturday evening till it rises the next day on Easter morning, observed in the hours of darkness, and is the first celebration of Easter. Historically, it is during this liturgy that people take baptismal vows and adults receive full communion with the holy church. Read on to find out more.

In Western churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, Methodist, Reformed, Lutheran, and Anglican, Easter Vigil is considered the most significant liturgy of Mass and public worship of the year.

In Eastern Christian traditions, such as observed in the Oriental or Eastern Orthodox churches, the Divine Liturgy and festive ceremonies are celebrated during the hours of Easter Vigil. The celebrations of the Easter Vigil are unique and extremely elaborate. The sunrise service in Moravian Churches starts on Holy Saturday before the dawn of Easter Sunday.

Holy Saturday, like Good Friday, is a liturgical day, however, in theory, it was a day without any Easter Vigil mass. The day was eventually shortened and pushed back to the evening.

In the Middle Ages, Eastern Vigil services fell into a long and slow decline. Around the second half of the 20th century, both Protestants and Roman Catholics began reviving this ancient service. Easter comes after the Great Vigil, and many people consider the week before Easter Vigil Holy Week. It contains the days of the Easter Triduum, which are Maundy, Last Supper, and Good Friday.

The Significance Of Easter Vigil

Easter Vigil is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his death. Let's find out more about its significance to Christians around the world. 

The day is observed as a pious celebration in traditional Christian churches during the Easter season. It takes place at any time after the sun sets on Holy Saturday and rises again on Easter Sunday. The common time of the Vigil is evening or midnight. Traditionally, the Great Easter Vigil is the first ceremony celebrating the Easter season. It is also a significant day for Christians. Read on to find out more facts about its significance.

The Easter Vigil is considered a very important day in observing public reverence. The day is still religiously observed every year by all types of churches of the world. According to the Roman liturgy, the Easter vigil is divided into four parts; they are the Service of Light, Liturgy of the World, Rite of Baptism, and Liturgy of the Eucharist.

The Service of Light begins outside the church after the holy water is emptied, and the lights are extinguished. A new fire, called Easter fire, is lit outside the church and the Paschal candle, denoting Jesus, is prepared. A priest or deacon then inscribes in the Paschal candle the Easter symbols of a cross, the first letters and last of the Greek alphabet, and the current year, as they chant a special prayer, then affix five grains of incense to represent the five wounds of Christ. Ultimately, the Paschal candle is taken to every corner of the church followed by a group of chanting followers.

After completing the Service of Light, the next step is the Liturgy of World where there are readings from the Testaments. Due to lack of time, all 12 testaments are generally not read. However, three readings from the Old Testament are compulsory on the day of the Easter Vigil. In this phase of the Vigil, two hymns are sung.

The Liturgy of Baptism comes after the Liturgy of World on the day of Paschal Vigil, and it is the third phase of the Vigil. This phase is characterized by sprinkling Easter water on congregants as they enter a church, as a form of blessing. The water is also sprinkled through baptism. A section of this liturgy is included in the Litany of Saints. By the later half of the phase, all the people who entered the church and gathered at night are blessed with Easter water. This ritual is believed to renew their baptismal promises.

The Liturgy of Eucharist is the last phase of the Easter Vigil. The day ends with congregants chanting special prayers, known as the Eucharist Prayers. In this phase, all members of the church are requested to unite for a sacrificial meal at a large table. The table is believed to be created by Christ himself through his death and resurrection. Easter Vigil ends with a popular hymn.

On this day, every church member shows their fellowship for each other and shares the blood and flesh of Christ. It is followed by a meditation period where everyone prays. According to many Christians, this is the best time of the night as they feel the holy deeds of Christ. The night ends with blessings from the Easter Cross, which is another vital ritual of the vigil when each congregant is blessed by the cross.

The original 12 readings of the Easter Vigil are contained in the manuscript of the Old Testament.

The Origin And History Of Easter Vigil

Easter Vigil is a Christian observance day that ends the season of Lenten officially. It occurs on the Saturday before Easter and marks Christ's death before he is reborn. This day is associated with Jesus liberating believers from the gates of hell, so they too can be reborn in Heaven. Let's find out some more facts about the origin and history of this global Christian celebration at Easter.

For many years, there was no celebration called Holy Saturday or Easter Vigil in Western churches. Easter Vigil recalls the dormant state of God's followers between his crucifixion and resurrection.

In the 20th century, two major revisions of the Roman Rite were introduced. The first one occurred in the '50s under Pope Pius XII. In 1955, the Easter Vigil was restored on the initiative of Roman Catholics and a few other churches. However, Eastern Christianity never abandoned the Saturday ceremony before Easter. They had their own means of celebration.

The celebration of the night is marked by lighting a fire and a Paschal candle to signify Christ's passing from death to life and the end of Lent.

The Customs And Traditions Of Easter Vigil

Have you been interested in what you have found out so far about Easter Vigil? If so, then read on to find out about the customs and traditions of this festival of light and resurrection for Christians around the world.

Early Christians started celebrating Easter Vigil on the night before Easter Sunday. This day was observed as a form of reflection and preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Some faiths, like the Orthodox churches or the Roman Catholic Church, hold rituals on the night of the vigil which is important according to the liturgical year. Since early Christian times, Easter Vigil has been celebrated with different names in different corners of the world. Orthodox churches called this day the Great and Holy Saturday. According to them, on this day Christ descends to hell and releases captives, including Adam and Eve, so we can all be reborn in Heaven. Therefore, it is often referred to as the Harrowing of Hell.

During the day of the Easter Vigil, families prepare for Easter celebrations. The traditions of this day vary according to the culture. For example, people of Polish origin bring a food basket containing eggs, sweet bread, horseradish, and lamb cakes to the church to receive a blessing on this day. People on the island of Corfu, in Greece, have a tradition of tossing clay pots out of windows on this day while, in a few regions of Latin America, an effigy of Judas Iscariot is burnt. Judas was the disciple who betrayed Jesus.

Fasting on this day is not mandatory but many people follow this tradition to pay their respects to God or, at least, refrain from eating meat. These acts of devotion are followed to raise awareness of the sacrifices and love of God. The actual Vigil starts from the night of the Holy Saturday after sundown.

The Easter Vigil is a nocturnal watch, and people wait for the resurrection of Jesus during this time. There are some Orthodox traditions of the Vigil in which members of the church have to exit the church and circle it three times before re-entering. In the Roman Catholic Church, a priest lights an Easter Fire in front of the church before entering. The Easter Fire is believed to disperse the darkness. A large candle called the Paschal candle is lit in the darkness symbolizing Jesus, and God, as the light of the world, and new life.

In the Roman Catholic service, often nine readings from the Testaments are delivered with at least three readings by the priest. People who want to become part of the church are baptized at this event, and it is also the time for reaffirmation of the Baptismal covenant. This practice recalls the conversion that took place in 400 A.D. when Christianity was slowly beginning to spread.

Those who do not hold a night vigil meet at the dawn of Easter for sunrise services. This idea is parallel to the idea of organizing a vigil for dispelling darkness with sunlight.

<p>With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature.&nbsp;</p>

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