Liturgical Color(s): Violet (Purple)
Type of Holiday: Part of Paschal Triduum
Time of Year: The Saturday of Holy Week
Duration: 1 day
Celebrates/Symbolizes: Waiting at the Tomb of Jesus, meditating on His Death
Alternate Names: Sabbatum Sanctum, Black Saturday, Sabado de Gloria
Scriptural References: Matthew 27:57-45; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:44-56; John 19:38-42
Jesus in the Tomb, Jean-Jacques Henner
There are few specific customs associated with Holy Saturday, except that it is the final night before the Feast of the Resurrection, which begins at the Great Easter Vigil.
In the Latin Church, no Masses are celebrated on Holy Saturday, and the day is essentially a sparse time of reflection upon Christ's death and burial in anticipation of the Great Vigil of Easter (Paschal Vigil). The vigil usually begins the night of Holy Saturday, lasting until Easter morning. Very little happens on Holy Saturday, that is until the beginning of the Great Paschal Vigil.
There is deep symbolism upon which we can reflect on Holy Saturday. On this day, the Church waits at the Lord's tomb, and meditates on His Passion and Death and His descent into Hell. With prayer and fasting we await His glorious Easter resurrection. Mary is also a Holy Saturday symbol. According to Catholic tradition, Mary represents the entire body of the Church. As she awaited in faith for the victorious triumph of Her Son over death on the first Holy Saturday, so we too wait with Mary on the present Holy Saturday. This faithful and prayerful symbolic waiting has been called the Ora della Madre or Hour of the Mother. (www.churchyear.net)
Tomb with Cross, D. Bennett