Observe Lent, THEN Celebrate Easter

Lent and Advent are both a time of waiting. Hence the same liturgical color- purple. I’m not going to get into any deep Lenten theology here (because that’s not my ‘thing’) but I am going to plead my case for holding off on Easter celebrations with your family until Lent is totally over.

The season of Lent lasts 40 days. These are the 40 days that Jesus was in the desert. He was hungry, and tempted. As Catholics, this is a time when we pray, fast, and give alms. It is a time to sacrifice, repent, and reflect. It’s not a time to indulge in Cadburry Creme Eggs and fill our homes with colorful bunnies.

Christ in the Wilderness, Ivan Kramskoy

Here’s the thing- even though we wait for a whole 40 days to celebrate Easter, the Easter season lasts for 50 days! That’s right- we get to celebrate for 10 whole more days than we wait! ๐Ÿ™‚ This entire Easter season is the perfect time to throw Easter parties, make Easter crafts with your kids or CCD classes, make yummy Easter treats (even in the shape of empty tombs!), do Easter projects with your kids, bake cookies in the shape of eggs, and on and on! You can seriously do these things all the way up to Pentecost!

Good Friday is a day that should be taken especially solemly. It is our time to remember when Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us, and even children can be taught to observe this day with respect. I’m probably preaching to the choir asking Catholic Icing readers not to throw Easter parties on Good Friday (right? RIGHT?!), I’m just surprised how much of this I see!

Christ in Crown of Thorns, Carl Bloch

So I’m going to challenge you this Lent: Hold off on the Easter celebrations until Lent is over! Check out all the Lenten Acticities for Kids I have posted, and keep your family in the true meaning of this season!

I would also like to talk about “cheating” your Lenten sacrifices on Sundays. I know so many people who get upset about this! Here’s the truth: The Sundays during Lent don’t count in the 40 days. Seriously. Check out my Lenten Calendar if you don’t believe me. We, as Catholics, make a sacrifice every Friday of the year (whether we abstain from meat or choose an alternative sacrifice) because Jesus died on a Friday. Likewise, each Sunday to us is like a mini-Easter because Jesus rose on a Sunday! The joy of Jesus rising is so important to us, that on Sundays, we celebrate! You can think of Sundays during Lent as a little oasis in the middle of the desert. So don’t judge if cheating mini-Easters aren’t your think. Judging is just an icky thing to do anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Soon, you’re going to see me start posting about Easter. I do this ahead of time so you can make plans, and do your shopping for craft supplies and food. My family will not be celebrating Easter until the actual Easter season. I’m not going to deny that Easter takes some planning, and this can’t all be completed after the Holy Saturday vigil. Also, we do dye our eggs and make Easter story cookies on Holy Saturday. Every family will find what works for them.

One more thing- when it is time to celebrate Easter, celebrate the true meaning of Easter with your kids! Make Easter about the Lamb, not the Bunny! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Resurrection of Christ, Carl Bloch

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Comments

  1. You make such a great point. We are very good about practicing the fasting, sacrificing, penitential season of Lent, but then it seems as if we try to fit all the Easter celebration into one day or week! For me, that’s the important lesson in your post …. to spread out the activity and celebration over the whole Easter season.

  2. “Easter is about the Lamb, not the bunny”. I LOVE this…that’s one of the best things I have heard in a while! Thanks Lacy! I hope it’s ok if I quote that…I’ll link back to you!

  3. Lacy, I love this post. Agree, Agree, agree, everything you said.!! and if you coined that phrase, “Easter is about the lamb, not the bunny!” you need to copyright/trademark that, friend!! ๐Ÿ™‚ God bless your Lent.

  4. Sing it Sister!

    You’re what – 20-something? You are so wise! I didn’t learn this truth until about 10 years ago when I was in my mid-30’s. We now have a more penitential Lent & don’t participate in the Palm Sunday Easter Egg hunt at our parish (sigh).

    BTW – I thank you immensely for your website. I am in a homeschool co-op & have a “Holidays & Holy Days” class for K/1 grade kids. My class is largely an advertisement for your blog -which I do credit to the moms. Last week we made the play-doh crown of thorns (thanks for mentioning the dollar store play-doh) & the soft pretzels. Huge hit.

  5. Well said. Thanks!

  6. Jennifer @ Crafolic says:

    Wow!!! You go girl!!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ I couldn’t have said it any better! You hit everything right on!! My neck hurts from nodding and my throat hurts from cheering! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€
    Wishing you and your family a blessed Lent!

  7. Great post! That’s what is so great about the Church. While we do have to wait during Advent and Lent, we have a longer season of celebration (Christmas/Easter) rather than celebrating for just one day. I find this so much richer than my Protestant upbringing, and I love finding ways to help my kids along through the seasons.

  8. Lacy you hit it right on the head! And even though you may be mostly “preaching to the choir” your post is such a great reminder and encouragement. Hope you are settling into your new home and having a Blessed Lent!
    PS thank you for all the time and energy you put into Catholic Icing. It is truly a blessing for so many!

  9. I totally agree! Our priest said in his homily on Sunday that some people tell him they want Lent to be fun and joyful, and that they like to focus on their good works not their sins. He said, “But Christ didn’t die for your good works; he died for your sins.”

  10. Thanks for the great post! It’s a good reminder–beginning this year, I’ve decided to start a collection of Easter lambs for our house. We’re also going to do something I did with my Mom when I was growing up–make a paper mache tomb that will be closed during Lent, then opened and decorated with flowers on Easter!

  11. Lisa Johnston says:

    Wow… sorry, but I thought this was kind of a “no-brainer” for practicing Catholics, at least.
    Lent is Lent is LENT…. NOT EASTER!!!! As a family, we always attend Holy Thursday Mass (and 3 of my 6 kids altar serve); stay for a while for the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament; then on Good Friday we attend the 3pm service. The little ones are only allowed to watch an Easter Video about Jesus, and after a very small, simple supper (and when the little ones are in bed) we watch The Passion. Our only “Easter activity” is to decorate the eggs on Friday morning, as we follow the Polish tradition of having our special Easter Food blessed on Saturday, which by the way, is still a day of fast and abstinence! We attend Easter Vigil as a family (we have the most amazing Priest EVER!!!!) who encourages the ENTIRE family, even little ones to attend! Sunday starts the celebrating!!!!! We also do Easter Tomb cookies on Saturday evening…..
    I thought most people (well the good Catholics who read your blog, lol), would kind of do the same!!

    Love your stuff, though, and I AM reposting this to Facebook, if that’s alright, as I know some other people that might benefit from this! Thanks!

  12. Great post, Lacy! Especially the part about Sundays not part of Lent!

  13. Amen to that Lacy! I guess it kind of speaks to the way of our culture, we want the fun and good stuff and we avoid or ignore the heavy stuff. Jesus suffered for our sins so we could have eternal life. We must not ignore the reasons for Lent and jump right to his resurrection!

  14. Cynthia Caton says:

    I really don’t mind skipping all the egg hunts that happen before Easter. It kind of takes the specialness of Easter Morning away anyhow. I have been enjoying reading mother Loyola books about first Confession and reading Lovasik’s booklet on Lent and talking about how amazing Jesus’ sacrifice was, and he did it for US! Skipping a few materialistic events is really not missing much at all ๐Ÿ™‚ Lenten Blessings to all.

  15. I had never heard of Sundays “not counting” until this year, actually, but I love it!

    We will try hard not to celebrate before Easter. I think you are spot on.

    My family travels out of town for Easter and we spend the weekend with some of the most faith filled relatives we know. It makes Easter that much more special and joyous!

  16. Great post!

  17. You hit the nail on the head! We always hold off on celebrating Easter UNTIL Easter. And Sundays are not cheating! They are not Lent! Good post!

  18. I wanted to show you what we did with the lenten map and stations. Love your blog!
    http://mcrowles.blogspot.com/2012/02/lenten-promises.html

  19. What a relief to hear someone else voice this same concern regarding celebrating Easter before Easter Sunday! In my previous neighborhood the hoa would throw and Easter egg hunt for all the kids on the weekend before Easter since that was convenient with the school/spring break schedule. It made me very upset but I was viewed as weird for that!

  20. Lacy,

    I found this article you wrote to be so inspiring!! I was praying the other day about my prayer life and then I find this wonderful blog!! Thank you!! It will help me in so many ways!

  21. Missy Rose says:

    I just stumbled on your blog earlier this week and this is the first post I’ve read and I’ll definitely be back to read more because I agree 100%. And I never thought about it before, but the Easter season IS longer than Lent, so there’s plenty of time to celebrate! Thanks for the inspiration.

  22. Lacy I just can’t thank you enough for your blog. Down here in Australia we just don’t have as many resources on fostering the Catholic faith in our little ones and your website is such a blessing. Also it is so difficult to search for ways that can make learning about our faith FUN for preschoolers. I am definitely considering getting your preschool curriculum to do it with my kids at home. Thanks again!

  23. Angela Kramer says:

    Thanks for the reminder! I CAN still celebrate after Easter. I was struggling with getting all my lent messages and crafts in with my kids and yet let them celebrate Easter. Easter Sunday was looking packed! This year I plan to let my Easter celebrating LAST all season, AFTER Lent o,f course!

  24. I ran across your blog when I was doing a search for resurrection rolls (which I found- thanks!). I am a Mormon and enjoyed learning more about your faith and practices. While Mormons do not observe Lent, I think the way you respect Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is inspiring. And now I will be more sensitive about not putting my Catholic friends in a tough spot by holding an Easter celebration before Easter!

  25. I drive my family mad as I do include Sundays in Lent. I am sure that Jesus did not take a break from fasting. Enjoyed reading your article about Easter.

  26. Christine Suina says:

    I teach Sunday School and we actually have an Easter egg hunt and celebration the 2nd Sunday of Easter. It’s a great teaching point of the Church celebrates Easter until Pentecost.

  27. I came across this blog post while searching for support for keeping our Lenten fasts on Sunday, and found just the opposite. I love love your support for saving Easter celebrations for the Easter season. I am a convert, my husband is a cradle catholic. He grew up not breaking his fast on sundays, and our family has continued this practice. Lately, however, our church friends have all been ‘educating’ us about how, don’t you know, you don’t have to fast on Sunday. I have now been having trouble with my oldest child sneaking and breaking our fast from video games when I am not looking. When I turned to a catholic mom for advice she basically told me it was too much for me to ask of my children to give up tv and video games for all of lent. I looked up what the usccb had to say, and to paraphrase, they say that other than fasting on good Friday/ash Wednesday, the 40 day fast is up to the individuals conscience. But since it is disciplinary in nature it is more effective if you do not break the fast on sundays. But it is up to your own conscience. I find it so sad that our catholic society is so discouraging of catholics trying to follow what we are encouraged to do! There’s got to be another way of making Sunday more celebratory than breaking our Lenten disciplinary fast. Thank you for your blog, though, it seems wonderful and I’m glad I found it!