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Eastertide

Easter is here!!! 

We all know that on Easter we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior after his crucifixion and descent to the dead.  However, we celebrate Easter longer than one Sunday.  Beginning Easter Sunday, we celebrate the 50 days of Easter, known as Eastertide, lasting from that point through the Day of Pentecost.  During this season, we change the liturgical color from the Lenten Purple (or in some churches, the deeper burgundy red of Holy Week - but that is a topic for another time), to our Festival White color.  The Christus Rex, and cross the Crucifer carry, are both unshrouded.  These are some of the overt physical things you see.

The solemn tone of Lent - the penitential order and confessional at the start of the service, for example - are removed from the service.  In fact, during Eastertide, the confessional is usually not included in the service at all.  Alleluias in the liturgy, omitted during Lent, are restored.  The dismissal at the end of services usually ends in Alleluia, Alleluia!  It is clearly a time of celebration at the joy of the resurrection of Jesus!

Some little known facts about Easter: 
• Prior to the 1969 revision of the calendar, the Sundays after Easter were known as the First Sunday after Easter, Second Sunday after Easter, etc.  When the Anglican and Lutheran churches implemented a lectionary reform in 1976, the reference changed from the "Xth" Sunday AFTER Easter to the "Xth" Sunday OF Easter.
• Eastertide begins with the Easter Vigil and concludes after Evening Prayer on the Day of Pentecost.
• It is hard to compute the date of Easter, as it is on the Sunday following the full Moon which falls on or after the equinox.  This is further complicated by the fact that the astronomical equinox can fall on 19, 20 or 21 March, but the ecclesiastical date is fixed on 21 March. 
• The United Kingdom passed the Easter Act of 1928, fixing the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April; however, the legislation was never implemented.

 

Ever wonder where the tradition of hunting Easter eggs comes from?  The egg is an ancient symbol of new life and rebirth.  Christianity has associated this with the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection, and as a symbol of the empty tomb.  The tradition of dyeing the eggs come from the early Christians of Mesopotamia, who stained them red to remind them of the blood of Christ, shed while he was on the cross.
 

Happy Eastertide!  The Lord is risen indeed!  Alleluia, Alleluia!!!

This month's blog/reflection is provided by Bryan Irvine
 

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