Traditions29 April 2024

The Holy Week - the most sacred time of year for Christians

The Crucifixion - the primordial chaos- and the Resurrection in the Romanian Orthodox Religion

The mass of the Holy Saturday

The mass of the Holy Saturday

It's called "The Holy Week” because every day of this week is a tragic moment in the life of the Saviour, which is actually the way up to his death, the descent into death and the return among the living. It is the symbol of redemption of the whole world of the original sin through "the simple faith" in his Resurrection. Is the belief that in this way it proves its divine essence and, above all, that the life beyond life, the spiritual one, is the true one (Gabriela Rusu Pasarin, Calendar popular românesc, Craiova, Ed. Scrisul Românesc, 2006).

The whole week is therefore characterized by the degradation of the time. It’s a moment of tears and sadness. The World Order is abolished and the Chaos is settled. It’s the moment of the arrival of the spirit of the dead and the our world is getting ready for their appearance through various commemoration practices, which, in the Romanian folk tradition, are extremely well preserved and are practiced even today, in rural areas, with great dedication.

The Holy Wednesday is the day with many worries. Thistles, straws, wood chips are collect for the next day, the Holy Thursday, when fire has to be made to welcome the spirits of the dead. (...) These fires have an obvious ritual function. They, according to popular belief, warm up the legs of the dead, and the pots of food and water placed near the fire, as a charity for their souls. in the house is made a fire for each dead and use to give a ring-shaped bread as a charity for their souls.


The Holy Thursday or the Maundy Thursday: the last Thursday of Lent, it is known by several names: the Holy Thursday, Joimari, the Black Thursday. In the south of Romania there is the belief that in this day, every year, come the spirits of the dead and they remain until the Saturday before Pentecost. The defining element is the fire, a ritual fire with funerary function (Gabriela Rusu Păsărin, Calendar popular românesc, Craiova, Ed. Scrisul Românesc, 2006).

The Good Friday or the Holy Friday: It's the darkest day of the Holy Week. It’s the Good Friday, the Dry Friday, Great Friday. It is believed that eggs have become red because of the last blood from the wounds of Jesus Christ. For this reason, on this day the eggs are painted red. Men do not sow anything on this day. It’s the day of the absolute fast or dry fasting.

The Holy Saturday: The night watershed between pain and joy, between suffering and hope of the resurrection, the Holy Saturday brings together pre-Christian practices and rituals that give the attribute of a magical night, just like that of a Christian New Year (Ages). The light is the essential element of the transition from Night of the Death to the Night of Redemption, and the candles lighting at the clock edge, taken from the candle light of the priest who celebrated the holy mass, means sending the sign of liberation from the World of Darkness to the Faithful’s World.

Gheorghe Sechesan




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