Easter Saturday is celebrated on the Saturday before Easter across Australia and usually falls sometime between March and April. This year, it takes place on April 8. The exact date varies year after year and depends on the date determined by the Western Christian calendar. For most Australian states and territories (except Tasmania and Western Australia), Easter Saturday is a public holiday and forms a trio of succeeding holidays along with Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
History of Easter Saturday
No one knows the exact date the world began celebrating Easter, but we can all agree on one thing — Easter is indeed the oldest Christian festival the world knows. Historians and scholars believe the festival gained prominence in the latter half of the second century, and we have never looked back.
Religious celebrations have always been muted on this day since the early ages, given that it falls only one day after Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. People would even take part in Easter Vigils, in a callback to how Jesus Christ’s followers held a vigil after Good Friday. Because it was a period of mourning, most Church services were suspended on this day. The only service allowed was a baptism, as it was believed this ritual allowed people to get closer to God and offered salvation to the dying. And that’s why across the world, the Saturday before Easter was a popular day to baptize people.
Over time, Easter adapted to adopt different customs and traditions of the countries it was celebrated in. Even in Australia, where most religious aspects have stayed the same, the festival has taken on cultural tones and seasonal ones too. After all, while it’s a celebration of spring (aka life) in many parts of the world, Easter Saturday heralds the coming of autumn in Australia. So, Australians celebrate harvests instead of spring. And, with so many different cultures and people calling Australia their home, this event becomes a different holiday for every segment of the Australian diaspora.
Easter Saturday timeline
One of the largest ticketed events in the world, this annual show starts on the Friday before Easter and ends on the Tuesday following Easter.
The Stawell Gift — a foot racing event — is one of the oldest Easter sporting events in Australia and one of the most prestigious too.
Decorated eggs have been a part of numerous Christian celebrations but are formally introduced to Easter celebrations during this period.
The Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia (pushes to replace the Easter Bunny with the Easter Bilby, based on the concept first introduced in Rose-Marie Dusting's 1968 story, “Billy the Aussie Easter Bilby,” which she writes to enhance Australia's awareness about the endangered animal.
Easter Saturday FAQs
What happened on Easter Saturday?
According to the Christian “Bible,” Easter Saturday was when Jesus Christ was laid to rest in his tomb after being crucified on Good Friday.
Why is it called ‘Black Saturday?’
Easter Saturday is officially termed ‘Black Saturday’ in the Philippines because of this color’s role in the mourning process in certain parts of the world.
Is Saturday mentioned in the “Bible?”
The word itself isn’t in the “Bible” but most people believe the sentence “God rested after having completed Creation in six days” means the seventh day of the week is Saturday.
Easter Saturday Activities
Sit in on a church service
Multiple churches and some community centers near you will be hosting special services for Easter Saturday. If you are so inclined, go ahead and check if you can attend a service or two.
Go Easter egg hunting
Revisit your childhood for a day. Get someone to bury Easter eggs in your backyard/garden and have a fun little hunting session with your loved ones. As a bonus prize, you get to keep (and eat) all the delicious Easter eggs you can find.
Spend the holiday with loved ones
Take some time off from the daily grind to indulge in a little family-and-loved-ones time. Take a weekend trip, plan a staycation, or simply have a little Easter Saturday brunch.
5 Ways The Australian Celebration Is Different From The World
Easter Saturday by another name
Did you know the Christian Church thinks 'Easter Saturday' for the day before Easter is the wrong terminology; they prefer it to be called 'Holy Saturday,' which is the official term everywhere around the world (except Australia).
A different term across Australia too
Officially, Easter Saturday is called by the same name in New South Wales and the Northern Territory, but changes to 'the day after Good Friday' in Queensland and South Australia and is called the 'Saturday before Easter Sunday' in Victoria.
No Easter Bunnies
Australians categorize rabbits as crop-destroying pests and have replaced this Easter symbol with the native Australian Bilby — a tiny endangered marsupial that resembles a rat.
Their spin on hot cross buns
Australians share the tradition of eating hot cross buns with England but switched out the dried fruit on top for chocolate chips and cocoa powder to go along with the chocolate flavor of the Australian version.
Sports and Easter Saturday
Australian Rules Football season begins around the same time as these celebrations, so multiple sports events form a part of Easter Saturday events too, with some rare ones falling on Easter Monday as well.
Why We Love Easter Saturday
It's different, yet not
Celebrations for Easter Saturday in Australia are so similar to the rest of the world and yet they have their unique spin on some favorite traditions. This dichotomy makes for a very interesting celebration.
There's something about Easter eggs
We can't really tell if it's the chocolate, the colorful designs, or the playful connection to the Easter hunt. However, we adore these sweet confections, and the entire Easter celebration too.
We love the upturned weather too
It's spring everywhere else, but autumn in Australia. It's almost like we're celebrating Easter Saturday in an alternate universe.
Easter Saturday dates