Easter Sunday and the following seven days present a special time to bask in the glory of the resurrection.
Starting from at least the 3rd or 4th century, Christians began to extend certain feasts beyond the initial day. This meant that the joyous celebrations of Easter Sunday were prolonged and lasted a full eight days.
In fact, Christians treated each day in the octave as if it were Easter Sunday. This tradition has been preserved by the Roman Rite and many of the Eastern Rites, where the liturgical readings and actions of each day mimic what happened on Easter Sunday.
The St. Andrew Daily Missal further explains the connection the Easter Octave had to the newly baptized members of the Catholic Church.
The Octave of Easter, during which formerly no servile work was done, was one continual feast. Each day the neophytes attended Mass at a [different church in Rome], at which they received Holy Communion. In the evening they went to Saint John Lateran for the Office of Vespers.
Furthermore, the newly baptized would wear their baptismal gowns during the entire octave. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Second Sunday of Easter “was consequently known as dominica in albis (deponendis), the Sunday of the (laying aside of the) white garments.”
While these particular baptismal traditions are no longer practiced by the Catholic Church, the Octave of Easter remains a celebratory time for Christians around the world and is meant to be a joyous time to remain in the beauty of the Lord’s resurrection.
As with the way Christmas is celebrated in the Catholic Church, the Easter season only begins with Easter Sunday. It is a season for feasting, praising God and enjoying the company of family and friends.
Gone are the fasting days of Lent! (Even the weekly Friday abstinence, which many Catholics practice all year long, is suspended on Easter Friday.) Now is the time to feast!
Support Aleteia takes a minute
If you’re reading this article, it’s precisely thanks to your generosity and to that of many other people like you that make possible the evangelization project of Aleteia. Here some numbers:
- 20 million of users around the world read Aleteia.org every month.
- Aleteia is published daily in eight languages: French, English, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Slovenian.
- Each month, our readers view more than 50 million pages.
- Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia’s social media pages.
- Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos.
- All of this work is carried out by 60 people working full-time and approximately 400 other collaborators (writers, journalists, translators, photographers…).
As you can imagine, behind these numbers there is a big effort. We need your support so we can keep offering this service of evangelization to everyone, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.
Support Aleteia from as little as $1 – and only takes a minute. Thank you!