Hallelujah Saturday: Brazil’s joyous eve of Easter celebrations

Holy Week in Valenca, Bahia, Brazil. 

Holy Week in Valenca, Bahia, Brazil. Image: ThalesAntonio / Shutterstock.com.

Hallelujah Saturday, celebrated on the eve of Easter Sunday, holds special significance in Brazil, where it’s considered a public holiday as part of the Easter festivities.

In Christianity, Hallelujah Saturday falls between Good Friday, marking Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, and Easter Sunday, commemorating his resurrection.

It symbolises the joy of Jesus’ resurrection, with celebrations starting on Saturday night at the Easter Vigil.

During Lent, Christians refrain from saying “hallelujah” and decorating churches with flowers, but on Hallelujah Saturday, they can joyfully say it again.

The Easter Vigil, organised by Catholic churches worldwide, involves a solemn Mass followed by hours of prayer until just before sunrise on Easter Sunday.

Another tradition on Hallelujah Saturday is lighting the Paschal Candle, symbolising the “light of Christ” that dispels darkness.

Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, recalls Jesus’ final days, including his Last Supper, crucifixion on Good Friday, and resurrection on Easter Sunday.

In Brazil, Holy Saturday also sees the Malhação de Judas, a festival representing the death of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.

Dolls resembling disliked personalities are made and “tortured” by hanging or burning, symbolising popular revenge against betrayal.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.