The Great Vigil of Easter is the heart of the liturgical year. In the ancient Church, all new Christians were baptized at the Vigil. The service began sometime after sun down, and included extensive readings from the history of Israel, and always the story of the Passover. The service ended near sunrise with the celebration of the first eucharist of Easter, with the newly baptized joining their fellow Christians at the table for the first time. Today, the Vigil includes the kindling of the new fire, and the lighting of the paschal candle and a series of readings from the Old Testament (always including creation and the crossing of the Red Sea). If there are no baptisms, the service includes the renewal of baptismal vows, followed by the first eucharist of Easter.
At Advent, we enjoy a lamb dinner after the Vigil.