Five Ways to Celebrate the Easter Season

I could be wrong, but I suspect that the average Catholic knows that the season of Lent is 40 days, and that Advent consists of the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Thanks to the popular holiday song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” many Catholics also know that while Christmas is just one day, the Christmas season is twelve. But as for Easter, I sense that it’s less well known that the season spans an entire fifty days. 

At least in my experience, it seems that Easter is celebrated on its designated Sunday, and then life returns to normal on the subsequent Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. Sure, your parish priest continues to wear white, Alleluias resume at Mass, and peeps linger in the candy drawer until someone decides to toss them (the chocolate bunnies, on the other hand, are gone before you know it!) but the jubilance of Easter day ends rather quickly. The Easter lilies are removed from the altar and taken home, the colorful eggs are returned to their storage bin, and unless Easter happens to fall at the ideal time for spring break, most public school students are back in the classroom on Monday.

And that’s too bad. The Easter season is long –  indeed, it’s the largest liturgical season after Ordinary Time –  because the resurrection of Jesus is worth celebrating for weeks on end. 

Let's celebrate Easter fully this year. Here are four ideas of ways to keep the joy of Easter radiating throughout its 50 day season:

Send Easter Mail

We send Christmas cards in December, Valentine cards in February, and birthday cards throughout the year. Why not send Easter cards sometime between the day of Jesus’ resurrection and the feast of Pentecost? Sending Easter Mail gives us, the sender, the opportunity to engage in a practice of celebration as we write a joyful message, and it shares that same spirit with the person to whom our cards are addressed. 

Bring Spring into your Home

In part because Easter falls in the Spring season in the Western world, and in part because the themes of Easter overlap with those of spring – renewal, growth, rebirth – springtime imagery is often associated with Easter. During this time of year, I love to keep vases of daffodils, tulips or forsythia from my yard in various places throughout our house – the kitchen counter, my bedside table, the dining room table. Each time I walk by the blooms and catch a whiff, I’m reminded of the new life that Christ brings. 

Hang an Easter-y poem on your Fridge

Speaking of the overlap between Spring and Easter, I like to hang one of my favorite poems – an homage to both the religious and atmospheric seasons, by e.e. cummings  – on my fridge.

I thank You God for most this amazing day
For the leaping greenly spirits of trees
And a blue true dream of sky
And for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes
I who have died am alive again today
And this is the sun's birthday
This is the birth day of life and of love and wings
And of the gay great happening illimitably earth
How should tasting, touching, hearing, seeing, breathing any
Lifted from the no of all nothing
Human merely being doubt unimaginable You?
Now the ears of my ears awake
And now the eyes of my eyes are opened

Throughout the season I pray this poem. 

Eat jelly beans all season long

I have gotten tons of fantastic ideas for how to weave the rich traditions of the liturgical year into my family’s everyday life from Kendra Tierney’s guide The Catholic All Year Compendium, but my favorite one is this: keep a jar of dried kidney beans (with their Lenten-ish purple color)  in the center of the kitchen table, alongside a pretty bowl or something of the like, throughout the season of Lent. Each time your child does an above-and-beyond good deed, makes a sacrifice, or puts the preferences of others above their own, they get to move a bean from the jar to the bowl. Then, on Easter Sunday, replace the dried beans with colorful jelly beans. New life! Transformation! Joy!  Throughout the Easter season, your children get to eat a yummy jelly bean each time they do something extra good.

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary

The Mysteries of the Rosary are a tool for focusing your mind and heart as you pray the rosary, and typically, the set of mysteries you use depends on the day of the week (the Luminous Mysteries, for instance, are prayed on Thursday, while the Sorrowful Mysteries are prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays). During the season of Easter, however, I make an intentional choice to only pray the joyful mysteries. Christ is risen and meditating on the joy that good news brings feels appropriate for these fifty days. 

Happy Easter, everyone. May this season be one of hope, joy, renewal and transformation for you. 

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