This post is part of my Hopes for Liturgical Living series in which I scheme and daydream about the way we’ll one day live out the liturgical seasons when our lives are slightly more together. As always, I admit that this is probably fanciful thinking. But it’s what I do best. And also, for the Bible tells me so.
I’m devoting this post primarily to ideas for keeping the celebration going for the full fifty day season of Easter but a few notes about Easter Sunday and the Octave:
After the long fast of Lent, I want to have the brightest of Bright Weeks. I want Easter to loom in my children’s imaginations as being as big of a deal as Christmas. Bigger actually. That’s something that I think is a baffling thing to modern, secular America. Easter has become a simple celebration of spring, rather than the most important moment of all history.
I want to spend Holy Week quietly(ish…cuz kidz) making and baking with my children so that they wake up on Easter morning to a house covered in flowers and ornaments and wreaths, to a decadent breakfast spread, and to grand Easter hymns playing. And to keep feasting like so for the whole of the Octave.
For the rest of the season, I’m dreaming of something along these lines:
I’m not planning three course meals every night (mayyybe on Sundays), but after meals like rice and beans or lentil soup for forty days, I want to make things that sing spring. I do want to have an actual food producing garden at some point, but while we don’t, hitting up the farmer’s market regularly during the Easter season might make a lovely way to talk about green things growing and all the associated themes of Resurrection.
I also like the idea of elevating daily staples during the season. Like really good tea and really good wine and really good salt. I can’t justify buying these things for daily use year round (unless I get budget shuffling and cutting in order), but I can make an exception during Easter.
We are thinking of homeschooling (at least while the kiddos are little) and one of the perks of it is all the freedom to devise your own schedule. Ideally, we’d take a eight day long break for the Octave and then maybe do half days of school for three or four days a week instead of five (and then adjust accordingly during ordinary time to make up.)
As far as housekeeping goes, we’ll have (hopefully) sufficiently devoted ourselves to deep cleaning and decluttering during Lent and will only do the necessary tasks like dishes, laundry, and tidying up.
One of the problems with ceasing the Easter festivities too soon is that churches and families tend to schedule Easter activities before Easter even begins. Easter egg hunts on Palm Sunday are particularly popular and weird, because when you observe all the days of the season, you have fifty of them to decorate eggs and hunt for them to your heart’s content.
Some other ideas:
I like the Advent idea of having a new or rewrapped book (Easter or spring related in this case) for the kids to open each Sunday. And of course we’ll keep the feasts that fall during the season. There are some really good ones (St. George, I’m looking at you). The Visitation would make for a good occasion for planting a Mary Garden. The first day of May, a good occasion for a Mayday celebration replete with a maypole and a May Crowning and all.
And then there are small things like setting up a projector outside for movie nights instead of staying indoors, squeezing in time for sleeping in and snuggling, for picnicking, for building tents made out of sheets in the living room in which to read or have tea parties.
Not everything has to be explicitly religious for it to create an atmosphere for Easter. I want to focus on emphasizing the difference in tone between Lent and Easter to gently but obviously underscore the change of the seasons.
In addition to saying regular rosaries and attending daily Mass and praying the divine office and having spiritual reading, I think Jennifer’s idea for the Via Lucis is so wonderful. I’d also like music to be a significant part of this, and, in fact, all seasons with seasonal chants and hymns. And we’ll be throwing in an alleluia wherever we can fit it (perhaps adding it to the goodnight blessing each child receives before bed) and squirting the kids with reckless abandon with holy water to remind them of their baptismal promises. Mostly kidding.
These are my ideas to make the season feel a little bit more like a foretaste of Heaven in our home. I linked to this article from Word on Fire a few weeks ago, but it captures exactly how I feel about celebrating the Easter season:
“So great is the mystery of the Resurrection that its commemoration demands more than twenty-four hours. Since we cannot put the breaks on the daily demands of our rotating world, the Church invites us to turn towards the mystery of the Resurrection and walk slowly in its light.”