Easter Sunday, April 16
The Easter Vigil is the “Mother of All Vigils.” Easter Sunday, then, is the greatest of all Sundays, and Easter Time (or Eastertide) is the most important of all liturgical times. Easter is the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead, culminating in his Ascension to the Father, and sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church.
The octave of Easter comprises the eight days that stretch from the first to the second Sunday, a way of prolonging the joy of the initial day. In a sense, every day of the Octave is like a little Sunday. Follow along on our Facebook page for daily prayers and ways to celebrate the octave at home.
There are 50 days of Easter, from the first Sunday to Pentecost. Eastertide is characterized, above all, by the joy of glorified life and the victory over death, expressed most fully in the great resounding cry of the Christian: Alleluia! All faith flows from faith in the resurrection: “If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14).
The word “Easter” comes from Old English, meaning simply the “East.” The sun which rises in the East, bringing light, warmth and hope, is a symbol for the Christian of the rising Christ, who is the true Light of the world. The Paschal Candle is a central symbol of this divine light, which is Christ. It is kept near the ambo throughout Eastertime and lit for all liturgical celebrations.
Read more from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.