Easter is more than a day! It is fifty days, beginning with the first celebrations in the early hours of Easter morning through to the feast of Pentecost, and the tone of joy created at the Easter Vigil is sustained through the following seven weeks as the Church celebrates the gloriously risen Christ.
The celebration of 50 days may be new to those who saw Easter as 40 says from Easter Day to Ascension, followed by Ascensiontide and leading into Whitsuntide. The Common Worship services follow the reform of the calendar in the Roman Catholic Church by restoring the older tradition of a single season of 50 days.
After the self-denial and discipline of Lent and the careful journey to the cross through Holy Week, Easter bursts with joy into a dark world. Regardless of the actual date, we observe the new life of Spring around us and the worship in this season should be equally bursting with joy and vitality.
A much loved Easter anthem says:
This joyful Eastertide
Away with sin and sorrow
My Love the Crucified
Has sprung to life this morrow:
Had Christ, that once was slain,
Ne’r burst his three day prison,
Our faith had been in vain:
But now hath Christ arisen