Rituals for the Domestic Church at Easter Time
SPRING CLEANING - According to an ancient tradition the three days after Palm Sunday are devoted to a thorough cleaning of the house. Walls washed, floors waxed, and mattresses carried into the outdoors for airing. The meals were light and by Wednesday everything was back in its place. This was to prepare the home for the great feast of Easter. The tradition was perhaps borrowed from the Jewish people of the Old Testament. They cleaned and decorated in preparation for the feast of the Passover. This ambitious practice may be a worthwhile tradition to "resurrect." It certainly serves as an external sign of the value in preparing heart and home for the Triduum and the great celebration of Easter.
PASCHAL CANDLE– Sometimes referred to as the Easter candle, enrich your family's observance of this holy season by bringing the 'light of the world' into your domestic church in a concrete way. This sacred candle should have a place of honor in your home, on a family prayer altar or on the table in which you gather for family meals. For suggestions in creating your own family Easter Candle please visit: https://catechistsjourney.loyolapress.com/2009/03/4040-lenten-activities-making-a-paschal-candle/
EASTER EGGS - In ancient times eggs were a symbol of spring and fertility. Eggs seemed lifeless and yet contained new life. In addition, the earth, in its winter state, with its bare branches and brown hillsides prepares to bring forth life and the season of spring. And so in pre-Christian times people gave to one another eggs to mark the beginning of spring and the emerging new life. During the Middle Ages the eating of eggs was prohibited during Lent. Therefore, Christians would give to one another eggs on Easter Sunday. The Easter egg now became a symbol of the New Life emerging from the tomb in the celebration of the Resurrection. Decorating a special Easter egg for each family member gives the opportunity to reflect on the love you have for that person. Easter eggs can remind all of us our own beginnings and the call to begin each day anew in Christ. Talk about the tradition of coloring and decorating Easter eggs in your family.
EASTER CLOTHES - The custom of wearing new clothes at Easter is an ancient tradition. Those newly baptized would wear white clothing throughout Easter Week as a symbol that the waters of their baptism had cleansed them from all sin. Other Christians would not wear white garments, but instead dress in new clothing to show that they, too, had risen to a new life in Christ. This became an outward sign of one's faith and participation in the dying and rising of Our Lord. What other times do we wear white in the rituals of the Church? The wearing of white for First Communion, marriage, ordination, connect us back to our baptism and should remind us of the call to change required prior to the reception of these sacraments as we take on yet another "new life in Christ." Even at death, the casket is covered with a white pall connecting us with the baptism of that individual. Bring out your baptismal garments or pictures of those times when you wore white as part of a special celebration in the Church. If you have the tradition of wearing new clothes or special clothes at Easter talk about why you do this and how it connects to the tradition of Easter Clothes.