Many people, including Catholics, think that Easter is simply one day on the calendar. And while this may be how we often celebrate Easter, we ought to remember that Easter is both an octave as well as an entire season.
First, it is an octave. Because this celebration is of such high importance (it is the very heart of our faith), the Catholic Church sees that it deserves not just a 24-hour moment, but eight full days where we celebrate. That is why if you attended mass on any of the days from Easter Sunday to Divine Sunday, the priest even used the term “on this day” in reference to the Easter resurrection. It is even such a day of celebration that when meat was typically prohibited for eating on all Fridays during the year, people would be able to eat meat on Easter Friday.
However, we do not only celebrate the octave, but Easter is of such great importance that it becomes an entire season. It lasts 50 days (whereas Lent is only 40), and it ends on Pentecost, which is June 9th this year. Many times for Christmas, people speak of it being an entire season, and we ought to do the same for Easter. So here are a few suggestions on how to celebrate the entire Easter season:
Decorate your house: I know that growing up, my mom enjoyed decorating the house for the different seasons of the year and different holidays. In the fall, we had a scarecrow and corn stalks on the lamp post in front of the house. For St. Patrick’s Day, there were green decorations. We ought to do this same for our liturgical church seasons. Decorating our house with signs of the resurrection, with “Alleluia!” and religious symbols is a great way to remind ourselves that we are still in the Easter season.
Plant an Easter garden: The Easter season coincides with spring every year and many people enjoy planting. A garden is a natural representation of new life. So selecting plants that can be a reminder of the Easter resurrection.
Pray the Alleluia: During the 50 days of Easter, it is a great practice to end your usual prayers with “Alleluia”. When you gather as a family and pray the “Bless us O, Lord…” feel free to add “Alleluia” at the end. Or even sing the Alleluia to celebrate the Easter season.
Make your own Easter candle: In the Church, we have the large Easter candle prominently displayed in the sanctuary as a reminder of the light of the Resurrection shining in the darkness. People can make a personal easter candle or even simply designate a special candle that is only lit during Easter. It can be on the dinner table, it can be lit for night time prayers or morning prayers. It becomes a personal reminder of the light of the resurrection.
Catholics have an entire season of Easter where we celebrate the most important moment in human history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let us celebrate this not for a day or a week, but for an entire season so that we are transformed into a people who live in the resurrection of Jesus on a daily basis.
Fr Nathan LaLiberte