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Scott P. Richert

The 50 Days of Easter

By April 1, 2013

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Which season is longer, Christmas or Easter?A statue of the risen Christ at Saint Mary Oratory, Rockford, Illinois. (Photo © Scott P. Richert) Well, Easter Sunday is just one day, while there are 12 days of Christmas, right? Well, yes and no.

As I've discussed before, the Christmas season actually lasts 40 days, from Christmas Day until Candlemas, the Feast of the Presentation, on February 2. The 12 days of Christmas refer to the most festive part of the season, from Christmas Day until Epiphany.

Similarly, the period from Easter Sunday through Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter Sunday), also known as the Octave (or eighth day) of Easter, is an especially joyful time. But the Easter season doesn't end there: Because Easter is the most important feast in the Christian calendar—even more important than Christmas—the Easter season continues on for 50 days, through the Ascension of Our Lord to Pentecost Sunday. (Indeed, for the purpose of fulfilling our Easter Duty, the Easter season extends until Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost!)

So keep on celebrating and wishing your friends a happy Easter! As St. John Chrysostom reminds us in his famous Easter homily, read in Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches on Easter, Christ has destroyed death, and now is the "feast of faith."

You can read all about Easter, including its history, practice, how the date of Easter is calculated, what holidays fall during the Easter season, and much more in Easter 101: Everything You Need to Know About Easter in the Catholic Church.

(A statue of the risen Christ at Saint Mary Oratory, Rockford, Illinois. Photo © Scott P. Richert)

More on Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday:

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Comments
April 9, 2012 at 9:45 am
(1) Dan says:

Very informative, Mr. Richert. Thanks.

April 9, 2012 at 10:19 am
(2) Daisy Williams says:

Hello, everybody! Your article was very informative for me! I did not know that Christmas And Easter last for such a long period of time. It is nice that we have so much more days to celebrate. You have inspired me to learn more about the history of these holidays.

April 18, 2012 at 11:20 am
(3) Chas says:

Thanks for the entry!
Mention should be made that, for Roman Catholics in the ordinary form (which make up the vast majority of Catholics), the Christmas season now ends at the Baptism of the Lord, at which point we go back into Ordinary Time. Though I personally like the older observance better, we should be respectful of the Church’s current norms.

April 19, 2012 at 8:29 pm
(4) Aura N says:

Thank for your information about Easter and Christmas and everything, that help me keeping very informed about catholisism. God Bless you

April 19, 2012 at 8:29 pm
(5) Aura N says:

Thank for your information about Easter and Christmas and everything, that help me keeping very informed about catholisism. God Bless you

April 2, 2013 at 6:39 am
(6) Erin Pascal says:

Thank you for sharing this very informative post! I didn’t know that both Christmas and Easter last for a lot more than just a day. And most of all, I thought Christmas is the most important feast in the Christian Calendar. Thank you for all these very helpful facts Scott! God bless you! :)

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