The Easter Octave

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Octave means an eight-day celebration, that is, the prolongation of a feast to the eighth day. The feast itself is considered the first day, and it is followed by six days called days within the octave. The eighth or octave day is kept with greater solemnity than the days within the octave.

 

The Easter Octave begins on Easter Sunday and ends on the Second Sunday of Easter of the Divine Mercy with every day being another solemnity or another “little Easter.” The current title for each day of the octave is “Monday in the Octave of Easter,” “Tuesday in the Octave of Easter” etc., but commonly called “Easter Monday,” “Easter Tuesday,” and so forth. The Easter Octave “overrides” any other feasts on the calendar. 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!

 

Ways to celebrate the Octave of Easter:

  • At the breakfast and dinner table, before saying grace, employ the Easter greeting used in the Eastern Churches.  Say “Christ is Risen.”  The family responds “He is Risen Indeed!”

  • Feast! During Lent, we fasted. During Easter, we feast! Plan a special meal during the week (like you did to celebrate Easter Sunday) to continue the celebration of the Resurrection.

  • Say Some Extra Alleluias. Just like in the Mass, we too can add some extra alleluias in our prayers to proclaim our joy. For example, when you finish your prayer before meals, add “Alleluia, alleluia!”

  • Flowers! During Holy Week churches cover all statues with purple fabric, but during Easter, the sanctuary is typically full of flowers, such as lilies. If you have holy images in your home, place some flowers before them. When you come home from work or school you will be reminded of Christ’s victory over death.

  • Attend one extra Daily Mass in order to experience the beauty of the liturgy during the octave of Easter.

 

This week pick one way to celebrate the Octave of Easter with your family!

 

Resources from: Aleteia; Catholic Culture; Catholic Link; Crossroads