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Easter Week was originally an entire week of rest

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Philip Kosloski - published on 04/18/22

The Church used to forbid any type of servile work for the entire week of Easter.

For many Christians, the celebration of Easter ends on Sunday night. Easter decorations are put away and the house returns to normal life.

However, historically speaking, the Church used to forbid any servile work during Easter Week, the week following Easter.

Dom Prosper Gueranger explains this tradition in his Liturgical Year.

Formerly the whole of this week was kept as a Feast, with the obligation of resting from servile work. The edict published by Theodosius in 389 forbidding all law proceedings during the same period was supplementary to this liturgical law.

The Council of Macon thus words its decree: “It behoves us all to fervently celebrate the feast of the Pasch, in which our great High Priest was slain for our sins and honor it by carefully observing all it prescribes. Let no one therefore do any servile work during these six days which followed the Sunday, but let all come together to sing the Easter Hymns and assist at the daily Sacrifice and praise our Creator and Redeemer in the evening, morning and mid day.

The Church still celebrates this week as an octave, meaning that each day is a liturgical continuation of Easter Sunday.

However, modern society no longer recognizes this special week, though on occasion Catholic schools, or certain Catholic countries, will delay their spring break until the week following Easter.

Even if you are unable to take off of work for this week, it is still meant to be a week of celebration and rejoicing, as the Easter season has only begun!

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