Liturgical Living | Eastertide: The Season of Alleluia
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
The Easter Season, sometimes called Eastertide, encompasses the fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost. It is the longest liturgical season on our calendar for good reason! This season is meant to be very different from the solemn focus carried in Lent and the Easter Triduum. Instead, it is meant to be a time of thanksgiving, joy, and feasting. The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar tells us “These above all others are the days for the singing of the Alleluia.”
In the same way that we celebrate Lent in the home, it is important to celebrate the Easter season in the grand way that it deserves. Pope Francis has said “To celebrate Easter is to allow Jesus to triumph.” What greater triumph then is there than to celebrate Easter within our homes as a family!
As with all liturgical seasons, there are seasoned families that have layers of deep-rooted traditions for Easter, while others are just trying out a first Easter season tradition this year. Don’t feel discouraged if you are in the latter group, the key is to joyfully celebrate the resurrection of our Lord as a family. Here are a few ideas that can be incorporated at home and involve the children in this blessed season:
1. Countdown! If we counted the days in Lent, why not count down the days to Pentecost? Point out that the Eastertide is longer than Lent, as one great Sunday, celebrating the Resurrection! Catholic Icing has a lovely printable Sundays of Easter countdown banner that can serve as both a countdown and decoration for the season.
2. Bring back the Alleluia! Some families traditionally “bury the Alleluia” during Lent, since it is not used in Mass during the season. Easter is the season of Alleluia! A blank burlap, chalk, or homemade paper banner with the Alleluia written in by little hands is the perfect décor and reminder of the season’s joy.
3. A family Easter Feast. There is nothing quite like sitting as family for a special meal, especially if it is a celebration! Whether it is a small meal among your immediate circle, or you decide to invite more family and friends, is entirely up to you. The most important thing is to point out the meaning of the special meal. Bring out the good plates, place some flowers, light some candles, and begin with a prayer… It doesn’t need to be fancy, but notice the little details that will help it feel like a truly special celebration in honor of the risen Christ. The liturgical color is white, if that helps with your planning (wink, wink)
4. Explore the Gospels as a family. Reading Sacred Scripture as a family is an excellent way to celebrate this season (and continue year-round). Go over and discuss the Easter readings and what happened next. Discuss Jesus’ appearances, how the apostles must have felt in those early days, how they changed as Pentecost arrived, and how this connects to our lives today. Sadlier Religion offers a wonderful Easter Calendar that includes a scripture verse and reflection question for each day of Easter.
5. Celebrate each Easter Sunday. There are actually eight Sundays within Eastertide: Easter Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, Easter Sunday, Good Shepherd Sunday, 5th, 6th, and 7th Easter Sundays, and finally, Pentecost Sunday. Each of those Sundays (meant to be celebrated as one grand Sunday) carry significant meanings. Plan a special picnic, pray, or family activity to purposely celebrate each Sunday in Easter.
There are endless ways to celebrate this season: writing Easter poems, creating beautiful Easter art or signs to hang up around the house, baking empty tomb rolls, learning Easter hymns, or planting are resurrection garden. Taking some time as a family to bring joy to someone in your community, friend or family member is also an excellent task for this season. Whatever your family chooses, do it with JOY!
In the words of Saint Pope John Paul II “We are the Easter people, and the Hallelujah is our song.”
May the joy of Easter fill our homes during this blessed season and always!
Saint Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us.
Mary, our Good Mother, pray for us.