What is the “Octave of Easter”?

The joy of the Church over the Resurrection of Christ from the dead extends from Sunday to Sunday in the week that is known as the “Easter Octave”.

Gaudium Press English Edition

Newsdesk (18/04/2022 18:00, Gaudium Press) After Easter Sunday, the Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church celebrates the Easter Octave.

The Church’s joy over the Resurrection of Christ is so great that, not content to celebrate it for just one day, the Church commemorates Jesus Christ’s victory over death for an entire week.

The Easter Octave consists of the eight days following Easter Sunday: it begins with Resurrection Sunday itself and runs until the following Sunday, known as Mercy Sunday (as it was named by St. John Paul II).

Mercy Sunday is also traditionally known as Domingo in Albis (Sunday in White), which comes from the original Latin expression: Domenica in albis vestibus – Sunday in white robes .

In fact, in Church tradition, catechumens baptized on Easter night were clothed with a white robe, a symbol of the spiritual purification granted by the Sacrament of Baptism.

During the Easter Octave, the neophytes attended Mass clothed in this white robe until the following Sunday, when they were finally stripped of the material garment and committed to keeping their souls purified.

The origin of the Octave of Easter begins even in the Old Testament, with the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23-26). God Himself spoke to Moses about the eight-day duration for the Feast of Tabernacles, originally an agricultural feast.

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During the Easter Octave, the Holy Masses repeat the same prayers as on Easter Sunday, since it is after all one and the same feast day. (FM)

Compiled by Roberta MacEwan

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