What is the Easter Triduum? | University of Portland

What is the Easter Triduum?

As the Christian community enters into the final week of preparation for Easter Sunday, a week often called Holy Week, members of the Catholic community will begin to start talking about something called Triduum. Taken from a Latin root that mean “three days,” it is a period of time that traces the final days of Jesus’ life, his death, and his resurrection from the dead.

Starting on the Thursday before Easter Sunday, each day is traditionally marked with a particular liturgy. On Holy Thursday there is the Mass of the Lord’s Supper that marks the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples, wherein he showed them what it means to serve by washing their feet. It is also meant to mark what is seen as the establishment of the celebration of the Eucharist (or Mass).

Good Friday is marked with fasting and prayer as a way to remember Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. The Good Friday liturgy involves the reading of Jesus’ passion and death from the Gospel of John as well as an opportunity to pray with and venerate a cross – the instrument of Jesus’ death and our salvation.

Holy Saturday is meant to be a quiet day, remembering the empty space that was present for the disciples of Jesus after his death and before his resurrection. They did not expect the resurrection and so were left in a place of grief.

After sundown on Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil is celebrated. It one of the longest of Catholic liturgies, involving several readings from scripture tracing God’s care for humanity, the baptism and reception of new members of the Church, the celebration of the Eucharist, and a great many joy-filled songs. It was that night when Jesus rose from the dead. It is that great victory over sin and death that the community celebrates.

The community will then gather again on Easter Sunday to celebrate Mass and continue to the joyous songs of celebration. Jesus Christ has risen to die no more! Humanity has been invited into that same trajectory through death to life.