WorldParent Saturdays in 2023: the schedule and traditions of...

Parent Saturdays in 2023: the schedule and traditions of memorial days



MOSCOW, November 22 – RIA Novosti. In the Orthodox calendar, the days of remembrance, in which it is customary to honor the memory of the dead, are called parental Saturdays. The closest is February 18, 2023. What other dates do they fall on next year, how ecumenical Saturdays differ from ordinary ones, as well as signs and traditions – in the material of RIA Novosti.

Parent Saturdays 2023

There are several special memorial days in the church calendar each year, often referred to as “parent Saturdays.” As a rule, they really fall on this day of the week, but in some cases they also fall on other days.

There are several versions of why such Saturdays are called “parent” Saturdays. According to one of them, the choice of the name is explained by the naming of not only mom and dad, but also all ancestors (in this case, already dead) before the word “parents”.

The essence of every memorial day

In general, the Orthodox are supposed to honor the memory of deceased friends and relatives almost all Saturdays. However, parent Saturdays hold a special place among them, some associated with major Christian holidays and events such as Easter and Lent.

On these days, citizens visit churches, pray for those who are not around, light candles for them, come to the cemetery and arrange the graves there. It is possible and necessary these days to pray not only for your loved ones but for all the dead. Orthodox believe that such prayers can contribute to the forgiveness of sins, so that in the other world the souls of the dead find peace and tranquility.

In addition to parental Saturdays, there are other special days when the prayers of relatives and relatives after the death of a person play a very important role. These are the third, ninth and fortieth days after death, as well as anniversaries.

Rakitki cemetery in the Novomoskovsk administrative district of Moscow - RIA Novosti, 1920, 22.11.2022
“Rakitki” cemetery in the Novomoskovsk administrative district of Moscow

Days of commemoration of the dead according to the Orthodox calendar

There are two types of parent Saturdays. Some have fixed dates, for others these numbers change every year as they are associated with the dates of major Christian holidays.

Dates of Parent Saturdays in 2023

On February 18, the first of the Ecumenical parental Saturdays, also known as the Saturday meat meal, appears in the Orthodox calendar of 2023, and soon the main mission in the church calendar begins.

Most of the special commemorations take place in the spring. Also, three of them (11, 18 and 25 March) are associated with the period of Lent. In April, believers celebrate Radonitsa, whose date changes depending on what day Easter falls on this year. Another special memorial day in the spring is May 9, when believers must honor the memory of those who died in the Great Patriotic War.

Trinity parent Saturday is also tied to Easter (which falls on June 3 in 2023). All the rest falls on autumn: October 7 is Pokrovskaya Parent Saturday, October 28 is Dimitrievskaya Parent Saturday, and November 18 is Mikhailovskaya Parent Saturday.

Universal Parent Saturdays

Among the special commemoration days, two stand out, called Ecumenical. These days it is customary not only to pray for your deceased relatives, friends or relatives, but also to commemorate all deceased Christians in prayers. Special services are also organized – ecumenical demands.

There are only two special days of commemoration in the Orthodox calendar, also called ecumenical parent Saturdays. These include Myasopustnaya and Troitskaya.

Meat Parents Saturday

It separates the Meatless Parent’s Saturday, which falls on February 18, just over a week from the start of Lent. Maslenitsa follows it, and the week before that is called Myasopustnaya.

Trinity parent Saturday

In 2023, the Trinity parent Saturday falls on June 3 and precedes Trinity Day, one of the main Christian holidays. This memorial day directly depends on what date Easter falls on.


The name “Radonitsa” comes from the word “joy”, and the holiday itself is when the so-called parental Saturday falls on a completely different day. In this case – on Tuesday, more precisely – on the ninth day after Easter celebrations. In 2023 it will be April 25.

Like other memorial days, Radonitsa is supposed to visit the graves of the dead, pray for the dead and come to churches. It is not customary on this day to mourn for those who have left the earthly life. On the contrary, the atmosphere of Easter is filled with hope for eternal life.

Residents of the city of Tara, Omsk region, at the cemetery on Radonitsa day - RIA Novosti, 1920, 22.11.2022
Residents of the city of Tara in the Omsk region at the cemetery on Radonitsa day

Dimitriev parent Saturday

Demetrius’ parental Saturday, which falls on October 28 in the next 2023, is directly related to the feast day of the Holy Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki. The history of this memorial day also mentions another Dmitry – Dmitry Donskoy: after the battle on the Kulikovo field, the tradition of commemorating the dead soldiers first, and then all the departed Christians arose on this day.

Parent Saturdays in honor of deceased soldiers

There are several special memorial days in the church calendar. On these days, believers can honor the memory of the soldiers who gave their lives to defend the Fatherland.

Memorial Day for those who died during the Great Patriotic War

The tradition of celebrating May 9 along with Victory Day is also the day of commemoration of those who died during the Great Patriotic War and has existed relatively recently, since 1994. Today, it is customary to pray for those who survived the war and died after the war was over.

Memorial day of Orthodox soldiers killed on the battlefield for faith, king and Fatherland

The Day of Remembrance of Orthodox soldiers for the faith, the king killed on the battlefield and the Fatherland, coincides with September 11. This tradition arose during the Russo-Turkish war in the 18th century.

Divine services and prayers

Memorial days, called Parent Saturdays, are associated with certain traditions. The Orthodox begin to remember the dead on the eve of the appointed day: in the evening before the parental Saturday, a special memorial service is held, called “parastas”. Parent Saturday also begins with a liturgy: first a liturgy for the dead, followed by a general commemoration.

During these services, believers do not only pray for their relatives and loved ones. Prayer should be for all the dead, especially those who have no one else to pray with. You can send a note with the names of those who need to be remembered in prayer.

Parent prays on Saturdays not only in churches, but also when visiting the cemetery. At the same time, a believer can read any prayer for the departed (for example, a prayer for a deceased Christian, a prayer for a widow and a widow, etc.).

how to pray for the dead

Sincere prayers play a very important role. It is believed that with their help the souls of the dead can find peace, and with the help of prayer, their loved ones and relatives can contribute to the forgiveness of sins of the deceased.

The more often a person remembers the dead not only on parental Saturdays, but also on other days, the better.

What should we do

The most important part of any parent Sabbath is prayers for the departed and those attending a church service. These days, many believers visit the graves of their relatives in the cemetery to put their graves in order (remove garbage, weeds, etc.) or to quietly honor the memory of their ancestors who lay there.

Since it is customary on parental Saturdays to remember not only loved ones, but also all dead Christians in general, believers in the cemetery are usually not advised to pay attention only to the graves of their relatives. If there are old abandoned burials in the cemetery that no one cares about, you can also put them in order.

A woman holding a candle during worship - RIA Novosti, 1920, 22.11.2022
Woman holding candle during worship

Another important tradition of memorial days is charity. Charity given from a pure heart will help increase the power of prayer.

Often, the commemoration of relatives is accompanied by a meal. At the same time, the main dish at the memorial table is kutya, a special porridge with symbolic meaning. The basis for the preparation of kutia can be various types of cereals (for example, wheat or pearl barley), which must be cooked so that the grains remain intact, but at the same time soft and edible. You can add honey, nuts or, for example, various dried fruits to the finished cereal.

Kutia is the symbol of resurrection from the dead. In explaining its sacred meaning, the Gospel of John is often quoted as saying: “If a grain of wheat that falls to the ground does not die, it remains alone; if it dies, it yields much fruit.”

What to bring to the cemetery?

Many citizens adhere to the tradition of bringing a variety of food to the cemetery on parental Saturday (while leaving some of the food directly on the graves). However, the practice of such “gifts” has nothing to do with the Orthodox tradition. And what’s more, on this day you should not bring alcoholic beverages with you or arrange a crowded, noisy feast with strong drinks in the cemetery. Instead, you can light a lamp at the grave (remembering the basic safety rules about fire) and pray for the deceased.

Why are you bringing food to church?

Parishioners during a service in the Assumption Cathedral in Omsk - RIA Novosti, 1920, 22.11.2022
Congregationalists during a service at the Assumption Cathedral in Omsk

But the tradition of bringing food to the church has a much more important meaning for the Orthodox. Previously, on these days, believers gathered in temples and held a common table to commemorate the dead together. Today, the products delivered to the ministers of the church go to the needy. It can be bread, cereals, vegetables and others, but it is not customary to bring meat and meat products.

What Not To Do

The main prohibitions for Parent Saturdays are:

  • You cannot hold noisy, joyful and abundant funeral ceremonies. Still, the memorial service should be modest and measured;

  • if they ask for alms, it is impossible to refuse;

  • Don’t waste this day on business. It is better to do cleaning and other similar things earlier, before the parental Saturday, or vice versa, postpone it until later;

  • It is forbidden to quarrel, scold, and utter bad words about the dead.

Signs and superstitions

Most of the days in the calendar correspond to folk omens and superstitions. Many are associated with parental Saturdays. But Orthodox Christians do not believe in such things and do not care about them.

One of the most common superstitions is that you should not pick up something that has fallen on the way to the cemetery. Also, you should not plan any celebrations or celebrations for parental Saturday: after all, this day is designed to honor the memory of the deceased.

Another belief: on a parent Saturday night, the chances of having a prophetic dream increase.

Source: Ria


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