The season of Easter begins, fittingly enough, on Easter Sunday and lasts for fifty days until the Day of Pentecost. This year Easter Sunday is April 5 and Pentecost is May 24.
Following the solemnity of Lent, Easter is the most joyous season of the liturgical year. Its focus is on the resurrection of Christ on Easter morning, His victory over death, the 40 days He then spent on earth with His disciples following the resurrection, His ascension into heaven 40 days after Easter, and on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit 50 days after Easter. Easter is time of celebration and great joy.
The colors for Easter are white and gold. Some commonly used symbols during Easter are butterflies, eggs, lilies, lambs, dogwood blossoms, and the phoenix. These all have a common theme of birth or rebirth.
Sunrise services are traditional on Easter morning. In the Gospel accounts of the first Easter, three of the women who followed Jesus arose before dawn to take spices to His tomb to anoint His body. When they reached the tomb, the sun was just coming up. There they discovered the empty tomb and heard the angels’ message – “He is not here! He is risen!” Filled with joy, the women ran to tell Peter and the other disciples the news.
In the United States, the first sunrise service each year is held on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park in Maine looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. The last one to be held on Easter morning is held at Punchbowl National Cemetery outside Honolulu, Hawaii – overlooking the Pacific Ocean.