On this day one commemorates the time that the dead body of Jesus Christ is in the grave. His soul however, was in paradise: "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43b, KJV).
The apostle Peter describes in 1 Peter 3:19-20a that Jesus Christ revealed Himself to the spirits in the hell to show His triumph: "By [his death] also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison. Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing." (KJV). While interpretations of this text differ, many take it to be a reference to the doctrine that Jesus descended to the dead after his death and before his resurrection.
Holy Saturday is sometimes called Easter Eve or Easter Even, especially by Anglicans, Low Saturday. In the Philippines this day bears the name Black Saturday or Sábado de Gloria. On the other hand, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia it is called White Saturday. In Dutch it is known as Silent Saturday (Stille Zaterdag). Holy Saturday is also often incorrectly called Easter Saturday, a term that properly refers to the following Saturday.
In Roman Catholic Churches, the sanctuary is stripped completely bare while the administration of the sacraments is severely limited. Holy Communion is given only as Viaticum. All Masses are strictly prohibited. No Mass at all appears in the liturgy for this day. Many of the churches of the Anglican Communion and the United Methodist Church observe most of the same; their altars may be covered in black instead of being stripped.
In some Anglican churches, including the Episcopal Church in the United States, provision is made for a simple liturgy of the word on this day, with readings commemorating the burial of Christ.
Liturgically speaking, Holy Saturday lasts until dusk, after which the Easter Vigil is celebrated, marking the official start of the Easter season. In Roman Catholic observance, during the "Gloria" of the Mass (which is the first Mass since that of Holy Thursday), the church statues and icons, in places where they are covered with purple veils during Passiontide, are dramatically unveiled.