Why is the Monday after Easter called Easter Monday? How is Angel Monday celebrated? You will find out in this article.
Perhaps not everyone knows that Easter lasts eight days – if you want to find out more about the dates of Easter and how it is calculated, we have an article about that – but everyone knows what Easter Monday is. In Italy, it is a public holiday both in the liturgical calendar and civil and often it is celebrated with barbecues, trips out of town and not only: read this article to discover many interesting facts about the Easter Monday celebrations.
Easter Monday, Angel Monday, Little Easter
The Monday following Easter Sunday is a feast day. Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of the Lord and is the most important feast of the liturgical calendar. The following Monday is dedicated to the remembrance of the episode of the Gospel in which women, after the events of the death of Christ, go to the tomb of Jesus. When they arrive, they do not find the body of the Master – who has risen – but an angel of the Lord, who awaits them in that place. From the angel, they receive the great news: “Do not be afraid, you! I know you are looking for Jesus crucified. He is not here! He has risen as he said; come and see the place where he was placed”. This episode contains the very important message of the Resurrection and the joy that comes with it. That is why it is remembered on a specific day. The name “Angel Monday” comes from this passage of the Gospel.
Sometimes we also hear about “Easter Monday“: the reason for this expression is that the feast of Easter lasts eight days – the Octave of Easter. Easter Monday is also the Monday of the Octave of Easter and every day of the Octave is an extension of Easter itself.
The term “Little Easter” instead is of popular tradition. The word Little Easter is a term of the word Easter: Little Easter is a small Easter, another day to celebrate, not as important as Easter Sunday, but extending the joy of the previous Sunday. Little Easter also entered the civil tradition as a public holiday and recreation.
The Catholic Feasts of Obligation
Is Easter Monday compulsory to go to Mass according to ecclesiastical law? The answer is no. In fact, Easter Monday is not one of the Catholic holidays of obligation, that is, those festivities or solemnities in which the Church obliges the faithful to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist and refrain from activities that do not allow to worship God and glorify him with the feast and rest. According to the Code of Canon Law, the feasts of obligation are:
- Every Sunday (including Easter of course)
- Christmas – 25th December
- Epiphany – 6th January
- Ascension of the Lord – fortieth day after Easter
- Corpus Christi – Thursday after Pentecost
- Mary Most Holy Mother of God – January 1st
- Immaculate Conception of Mary – 8th December
- Assumption of Mary – 15th August
- All Saints – 1st November
The Ascension and Corpus Christi are mobile holidays, that is, they vary from year to year, while the others are fixed holidays and always fall on the same date.
How is celebrated Easter Monday
Although it is not a festival of obligation, Easter Monday is celebrated in several ways. Among the various traditions is to dedicate the day to a trip out of town, with family or friends. Some say that this tradition was also inspired by the Gospel, in particular by the episode of Jesus’ apparition to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus.
In several Italian municipalities Easter Monday is celebrated with celebrations and religious parades. At Mongiuffi Melia (ME) the meeting between the Risen Jesus and the Virgin Mary is celebrated. The statue of Jesus Risen starts from the church of San Sebastiano, that of Mary from the church of San Nicolò di Bari, covered by a black veil. The two statues meet at the “Piano degli Angeli”, the veil of Mary is replaced with a white veil and the Virgin is crowned with flowers. The meeting between the two statues is accompanied by the songs of children between 5 and 10 years, nicknamed “angels of Mary”. Parete (CE) celebrates the patron saint feast of Maria SS. della Rotonda. For the occasion of staging the “flight of angels”: statues of angels are raised with cables and precede the procession of the Virgin. In Santa Venerina (CT) are opened only for the occasion three chapels where the Eucharistic celebrations are held: Santa Venera, Madonna delle Grazie, Maria Santissima del Carmelo.
Often this day comes alive with popular traditions and games, not necessarily related to religious significance. In Tredozio (FC) the Festival and the Palio of the egg are celebrated, and Easter Monday is dedicated to the boiled egg eaters. At Fiorenzula d’Ardua (PC) a traditional game is that of Pont al’ov, in which two challengers hold an egg in their hands and must try to break the opponent’s egg with the tip of their own. In Figline Valdarno (FI) the Palio is held, not the one famous among the districts – which takes place on Easter Sunday – but that of children!
Also abroad, Easter Monday is celebrated: in Poland, the tradition wants men to chase women trying to bathe them with water; in the United States is famous the egg hunt in the garden of the White House.
In 2021 Easter Monday may not be the day of group trips and crowded barbecues, but it will still be a day of celebration that prolongs the joy of Easter!