Holy Saturday in Lithuania
Holy Saturday, known as Šventoji Šeštadienis in Lithuanian, is a significant day in Lithuania as it marks the final day of Holy Week, leading up to Easter Sunday. The day is observed on the Saturday before Easter Sunday, and its date changes every year, as it is calculated based on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.
The celebration of Holy Saturday in Lithuania can be traced back to the country's Christianization in the late 14th century. The day is associated with the time when Jesus Christ was laid in the tomb after his crucifixion, symbolizing a period of mourning and reflection for the faithful. Throughout the centuries, Holy Saturday has been observed as a day of solemn remembrance and anticipation of Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday.
National customs for Holy Saturday in Lithuania
On Holy Saturday, many Lithuanians attend a special church service called Velykų Prabudimas, or the Easter Awakening. This service usually takes place in the evening and is marked by the blessing of the Easter fire, which symbolizes the light of Christ overcoming the darkness of sin and death. The faithful light their candles from the Easter fire and carry them home, symbolizing the spread of the light of Christ throughout the world.
Another important custom on Holy Saturday in Lithuania is the preparation and blessing of Easter baskets, known as Margučiai. These baskets typically contain traditional Lithuanian Easter foods, such as colored eggs, cold meats, bread, cheese, and sweets. The baskets are taken to church to be blessed by the priest, and the blessed food is then shared among family members during the Easter feast on Sunday.
Local customs for Holy Saturday in Lithuania
In some regions of Lithuania, it is customary to visit the graves of deceased loved ones on Holy Saturday. People bring flowers and candles to the cemeteries and spend time in prayer and reflection, remembering the departed and praying for their souls.
Another local custom is the preparation of traditional Easter palms, known as Verbos, which are made from various dried plants and flowers, and are often beautifully crafted and decorated. These palms are used during the Palm Sunday processions and are also displayed in homes throughout the Easter season.
In Lithuania, Holy Saturday is a day of reflection and preparation for the joyous celebration of Easter Sunday. The customs and traditions observed on this day, such as attending the Easter Awakening service, blessing of Easter baskets, and visiting the graves of loved ones, serve to remind the faithful of the significance of Christ's sacrifice and the promise of eternal life. As such, Holy Saturday holds a special place in the hearts of Lithuanians as they look forward to the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.