This tutorial page is part of the HOLY WEEK CRAFT KIT created by Orthodox Pebbles.

THANK YOU for purchasing the Orthodox Pebbles Holy Week Craft Kit! We are very excited to be doing this Christ-centered creative journey together with you. Please scroll down for some background on today’s theme and for a tutorial on how to do today’s craft.

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”.

Icon by Athanasios Clark, used with permission from the Department of Religious Education, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Some details about the icon:

  • 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

You will need

  • The printed templates provided in the kit (two pages)
  • A large can, such as a coffee can – we used a tomato sauce can in the demonstration, about 5 inches in diameter
  • The two jumbo craft sticks provided in the kit
  • The ribbon provided in the kit
  • Duct tape (we used a wide silver one, but any type of duct tape will do)
  • A pair of scissors
  • Glue (we prefer the less messy glue sticks over liquid glue for this project)


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 templates. You can cut them in any shape and size that best fits the objects you are using.


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 on another surface.


We have also created a Holy Week planner, extra activities and a lesson plan for Holy Friday that we are offering on our website for free.

Pascha fabric learning set

In addition to the above material, we have created a hands-on teaching resource made out of soft fleece fabric that is used like a felt board to help explore fundamental Pascha concepts and traditions.