How do you keep Easter going for fifty days?

Happy Easter! Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Remember, the Church is not like Walmart. We don’t celebrate a holiday for a day and then tear everything down the very next day as if it never happened. The Easter season lasts for fifty days, until Pentecost.

So, how do we observe Easter?

I realize that some of you live in bizarro land, and are already going swimming and using the AC and stuff; but here in the northeast, Easter comes as spring is just getting a foothold. The birds are newly hysterical with love, the streams are exuberantly throwing off their last loads of ice and rushing to meet each other, and there’s an almost audible glow around every bush and tree as the hard, closed buds finally burst into the first fresh greens of the year.

So I do feel like we’re celebrating Easter, resurrection, refreshment, renewal, and general hopefulness and fresh starts as we do the things that naturally go with the seasons: putting away boots, mittens, and snowpants, sweeping mud out of corners, clearing out flower beds, cleaning up the yard, planting window boxes, and finally opening the windows again. The hammock and trampoline are back in service.

There is, of course, also tons of special food in the house, and I bought a truly insane amount of matzoh, which we’ll turn into matzo brei.

But I’d love to add some overtly religious practices into our family routine, to set Easter apart from the rest of the year. What has worked in your family? A special prayer you only say during this season? Maybe candles at dinner? Maybe a song added to evening prayers? Music during meals? This year, we read the Easter homily by St. John Chrysostom on Easter day, and followed the orthodox tradition of having the kids shout back “He is angered!” every time that phrase came up, and then “He is risen!” every time that phrase came up. They loved it, but I think it would be less spectacular if we did it more than once a year.

Any ideas? Simple is good!

Image: Norway maple bud via Max Pixel


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15 thoughts on “How do you keep Easter going for fifty days?”

  1. We’re doing the Divine Mercy Novena (well, the chaplet, anyway) during the Octave of Easter. I don’t have anything planned beyond that though. Maybe try to plan a dessert every Sunday or something?

  2. We fast from meat, dairy, and dessert for lent. So, milk in your breakfast cereal is appreciated every morning after Easter. No additional ceremony required. Plus, the icon of the Resurrection on our icon dresser with a white cloth, is visible all day.

  3. Wow, you people have a lot of energy. We live in “bizarro land”, so Easter usually means the first wave of sinus infections for the year . . . I’ve got three kids recovering and one working on it.

    1. Hah! I know what you mean. Many years, Spring has been the bane of my existence. I don’t think there’s anyone who detests baseball more than I. But as I’ve gotten older (and more kids can drive and buy the Sudafed), I no longer dread Spring and all its practices and allergies. And except for Holy Week, our family singing is more or less limited to Sundays when most of the family is around for dinner grace. We only light candles during Advent and Easter Sunday itself.

  4. We try to do the Angelus whenever possible year-round, and during Easter we say the Regina Caeli instead. Also add thr Regina Caeli to the end of our rosaries.

  5. We try to keep up our decorations for the full stretch–white twinkle lights, gold tulle, fresh flowers if I can swing it, and our “Easter-ivity” (kind of like this one: We also have a Lenten/Easter wreath, like an advent wreath but with more candles, and on Easter we add a Risen Christ candle to the middle. The Lenten wreath is just a plain walnut disc with candle holes in it, so I also try to add some kind of decoration around it for Easter–flowers, greenery, etc. We light the candles at meals for the duration. We also try to do Easter-related readings together at bedtime. On my to-do list is to find a large icon of the risen Christ to hang for the duration as well. I love the idea above, of teaching the kids Easter songs, and will probably try to add that in this year.

  6. I was all excited about this post because I was hoping to get some ideas, lol! I have done the Good Shepherd party from Showers of Roses blog with the younger ones but it’s quite a bit of work. We do switch to the Regina Caeli instead of the Angelus at lunchtime. Last year we focused on saying the Divine Mercy chaplet and the prayer after dinner. I bought Bishop Barron’s Catholicism for the family for Easter….so I may make that the focus of this year’s Eastertide.

  7. During the octave (at least during the octave, but it tends to be forgotten and peter out before Pentecost) we preface each grace before meals with “the Lord is risen alleluia/He is truly risen, alleluia”
    “this is the day the Lord has made, alleluia/let us rejoice and be glad, alleluia”

  8. You could always sing the Easter Sequence (or Jesus Christ is Risen Today) together as a family every evening after dinner, or as part of nighttime prayers.

  9. We have a tradition of lighting a candle before dinner during every season except Ordinary Time (well, during Advent it’s however many candles we’re due to light on the wreath). We say grace, then sing the first verse of a liturgically appropriate song–“O Come, O Come Emmanuel” for Advent, “Joy To the World” for Christmas, “Somebody’s Calling Out Your Name” for Lent, “Were You There?” for Holy Week, and “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” for Easter. (We chose those because they’re fairly repetitive, which made them easy for the kids to learn.) When the song’s over, we blow out the candle. That’s really all we have for Easter, though. I’d love some other suggestions.

    1. We do the same during Holy Week, Easter, and Advent! We usually only sing when most kids are home for dinner which ends up being on Sunday evenings. And Holy Thursday and Good Friday in Holy Week when most school & CYO activities are cancelled.

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