Easter is the highest and holiest of days for all Christians. The fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost are celebrated in joyful exultation as one great celebration. Octave of Easter – meaning the whole week from Easter Sunday to the Second Sunday of Easter, is considered to be a part of the one long celebration of Easter Sunday. We celebrate the Octave [or eight days] because it was on the 8th Day that Jesus was raised from the dead. This happened to be on Sunday, which for Jews, is the first day of the week, [our also] and the first day of creation. So Jesus is the New Creation. During this Easter Season we proclaim the new and glorious condition of the risen Christ, and the divine power released from his triumph over sin and death. It is the time in which we celebrate the new life we have in Jesus.
Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring (vernal) equinox. The priest’s vestments and church linens are vibrant white and gold. These colors are a reflection of victory and great joy. The last 10 days of this season celebrate Jesus' promise to send the Holy Spirit.
At the Easter Vigil and on Easter Sunday, the renewal of Baptismal promises takes the place of the creed. Instead of everyone reciting the Profession of Faith, the priest asks a series of questions, to which we respond “I do.”
There are six questions: The first 3 cover what we promise to turn away from, and the last 3 affirm what we turn toward. The priest asks us if we believe in tenets (principles, beliefs, or doctrines generally held to be true) of the creed, asking 3 questions that summarize each aspect of it. After we affirm that we do, in fact, believe, he prays a prayer over the congregation, asking God to keep us faithful to our Baptismal vows. The priest then sprinkles us with blessed (Holy) water from the Baptismal font. As we are sprinkled with Holy water we make the Sign of the Cross over ourselves, recalling the reason for our hope.
This worship service is the climax of the entire church year. Going to church should be the highest priority for Easter Sunday. May you and your family have a joyous Easter and partake in family worship throughout the great 50 days of Easter.