Holy Saturday Creative Projects

Introducing…
THE HOLY WEEK CRAFT KIT!

Spend less time planning, and more time experiencing these special days together with the children. The kit contains materials and instructions for doing one craft each day from Lazarus Saturday to Pascha Sunday.

What is the difference between the craft kit and the free creative projects already offered on this website?

We were inspired to create the kit after first working on the free resources. The kit contains beautifully illustrated printed templates not available online, and the required crafting materials, already collected and prepared. The crafts offered in the kit can be combined with our free content for a more enriching experience.

Please visit the link below for details.


Explored theme:
– Celebration of the “First Resurrection”

On Holy Saturday morning at church, the Vespers and Divine Liturgy of Saturday evening take place by anticipation. This service is commonly called the “First Resurrection” and it celebrates Christ’s descent into Hades. While our Lord’s body was entombed, His soul descended into Hell to fight and free the souls already trapped there. 

At some point in the service, the priest tosses laurel leaves all around the church, exclaiming: “Arise, O God, and judge Thou the earth: for Thou shall take all heathen to Thine inheritance!“. At this moment, the faithful customarily make a big commotion, banging on their seats, on drums, or even on pots and pans that they have brought from home.

The icon of the day is called “The Descent into Hades”or the “Harrowing of Hell”. Some basic facts about it:

  • Our Lord is victoriously descending into Hades, and this is depicted by His forceful movement and His glorious robes. He is also surrounded by a mandorla, a luminous almond shape, which symbolizes the uncreated eternal light of God.
  • The bars Christ is stepping on are the gates of Hades, which have been broken by Him. They are in the shape of a cross, to signify the instrument of our salvation. There are keys and locks strewn in the abyss below, symbolizing that Christ has released us from our bondage of death. A chained skeletal figure may also be shown lying under the broken doors. That is Death, Satan or a personified Hades, bound and defeated by our Lord.
  • Christ is pulling two figures out from their graves, holding one in each hand; they are Adam and Eve, shown in old age, as they have been waiting for our Lord to come and rescue them in the underworld for a very long time. This signifies that Christ’s victory redeems all mankind from the very beginning.
  • Surrounding the victorious Christ are John the Baptist and the Old Testament Righteous. Just like Adam and Eve, they have all been waiting for the Messiah to free them from the underworld, so they can join God and the angels in Heaven.

Bible reading: Matthew 28: 1-20

To help experience the celebrations of the day we created a homemade drum for the children to take along and use at the service of the “First Resurrection”.


Tin can drum

The drum in the photo was made using the decorative templates provided in our HOLY WEEK CRAFT KIT. You can use your own decorative papers instead.

You will need

  • A large can, such as a coffee can – we used a tomato sauce can in the demonstration, about 5 inches in diameter
  • Colorful decorative paper
  • Two jumbo craft sticks or two unsharpened pencils
  • Duct tape (we used a wide silver one, but any type of duct tape will do)
  • A long piece of ribbon
  • Scissors and glue (we prefer the less messy glue sticks over liquid glue)

How to make the drum

First, use some duct tape to make the sharp part of the can safe to handle. We wrapped a piece of tape all around the open edge of the can, letting part of the tape hang beyond the edge of the can. We cut slits on the tape, then folded each piece of tape to the inside of the can, pasting it firmly in place.

Tape the ribbon in place using the duct tape. We used two pieces of tape for each side, to make the handle sturdier. First we taped the ribbon on the can facing down, then we folded the ribbon up over the first tape, and taped it again.

Decorate the can and the craft sticks/pencils using the printouts. You can cut them in any shape and size that best fits the objects you are using.

Ready!

Tip: We purposely left the top part of the can without any decoration – leaving it this way makes the banging sound considerably louder. The sound is also clearer if the drum is hanging free, not placed on a table or another surface. If the handle is long enough, the child can hang the drum around his/her neck, and bang on it using both sticks.

Note: In our HOLY WEEK CRAFT KIT, you can find Orthodox-themed printed decorative papers as well as most of the other materials needed to make this craft.


Free Lesson Plan and Extra Activities

We have created a comprehensive lesson plan containing material that you can use together with the projects on this page to explore the celebrated themes more fully. Please visit our web page Four Icons for Pascha.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCE:
PASCHA LEARNING SETS


BACKGROUND