The meaning behind UP's four-day Easter weekend

By Brigid Lowney | March 28, 2018 8:10pm
by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

With finals coming up, Easter break is a sight for sore eyes. But some students might be wondering, why do we get a four-day weekend when Easter is only on Sunday? The days leading up to Easter are some of the most important in the Catholic tradition. This upcoming Thursday, Friday and Saturday are holy days that the Catholic church calls “the Triduum." 

The Triduum is more than just a word with two u’s. It’s a liturgical season in the Catholic Church that lasts from sundown on Holy Thursday to sundown on Easter Sunday. The Triduum commemorates the events of Jesus’ death and marks the end of the Lenten season. 

Here’s what goes down in the three days of the Triduum: On Holy Thursday, Jesus broke bread with his disciples, washed their feet and had a famous dinner party, also known as the Last Supper. That same night, Judas betrayed Jesus and turned him in to the Romans.  

On Good Friday, Jesus was sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate and died on the cross. Good Friday is a day of mourning for Catholics, especially between the hours of noon and 3 p.m., which are referred to as the Three Hours of Agony. This is why a lot of Catholic schools get Good Friday off.

Holy Saturday is the day that Jesus was buried in the tomb. The Easter Vigil mass, usually one of the longest masses in the liturgical year, is held on Holy Saturday. The vigil is a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and many people are baptized into the Catholic Church at this mass. 

On Easter Sunday, Mary Magdalene went to visit Jesus’ tomb to pay her respects and saw a man who she thinks is a gardener. Plot twist: It was actually Jesus, alive and risen from the dead. Rejoice! 

If you want to take part in the Triduum, UP is holding Mass and morning prayers Thursday  through Sunday. Here’s this week’s Easter Mass schedule:

  • Triduum morning prayers: Thursday, March 29; Friday, March 30; and Saturday, March 31 at 9 a.m.
  • Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 29
  • Good Friday Liturgy: 3 p.m. Friday, March 30
  • Easter Vigil Mass: 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31
  • Easter Sunday Mass: 10:30 a.m. Sunday, April 1