Did you know that in some Christian traditions, Easter is celebrated for 50 days following the season of Lent? This season of feasting is called Easter Season, Eastertide, or Paschaltide. It starts on Easter Sunday and continues through the Feast of the Ascension (the day that celebrates Jesus’ ascension into heaven forty days after his resurrection), ending with the Feast of Pentecost (the day that celebrates Jesus’ sending of the Holy Spirit). It is often accompanied by the reading of the book of Acts, as these early milestones and the bursting forth of the gospel are described therein.
I only recently discovered the concept of a long Easter celebration, and it has fueled my imagination. What would it look like to follow a season of fasting, focused on preparing to celebrate Easter, with an even longer season spent actually celebrating the resurrection of Christ and all of its implications?
When I first pondered this, I wondered what shape a long feast might take. Would it be the reversal of my prior fast? In my case, I fasted watching television for Lent. Reversing this into a seven week t.v.-watching binge didn’t seem like a good idea. However, I could see some reversals working – leaving a sugar fast to savor one delicious piece of chocolate each day might be a terrific form of celebration! Clearly, there are also ways to celebrate in community, with actual feasts and the like. But I was looking for a daily reminder that a celebration was afoot, in the midst of life’s mundane and ongoing rhythms. I have decided to paint every day. Not big, profound paintings – just tiny reflections on life and the beauty that is all around during this season.
I invite you to join me on a 50 day Easter feast. How will you celebrate?