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Easter is not a Sunday; It's a Season
Eastertide is a period of fifty days and a week of Sundays

If you happen to be visiting a Christian church on any of the seven Sundays after what you thought was Easter and still find that Bible readings, hymns, anthems, prayers and perhaps even the sermons still make reference to Easter? This does not signify that worship leaders are reluctant to let their greatest holiday disappear from view.

Easter is a season rather than just a day.

It is actually a seven-week season called Eastertide. It is a period of fifty days beginning at sundown on the eve of Easter Sunday and lasting for six more Sundays until Pentecost. Thus Easter includes fifty days and a week of Sundays.

Like all of the major holidays of the Christian year, the season of Easter is framed around a sequence of events in the life of Jesus. In this case, it commemorates the time that Jesus spent with his disciples following the resurrection, prior to his ascension.

Tradition holds that Jesus "ascended" to God on the 40th day after the resurrection. On the church calendar this day, always a Thursday, is referred to as Ascension Day. In practice, the Ascension is sometimes "transferred" to the sixth Sunday of Easter.

The season officially ends on Pentecost Sunday, which Christians think of as the "birthday of the church." This holiday celebrates the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and indeed, the world.

More about Easter

More about Pentecost

More about The Holy Spirit

Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and author of Faith, Science and the Future, published in 1994 by CrossCurrents Press. He is also the author of God and Science (John Knox / Westminster, 1986) which he is now rewriting to incorporate more recent developments in the conversation taking place between scientists and theologians. He has also written widely for such publications as The New York Times, The Nation, Commonweal, The Christian Century and others.

For further information about Charles Henderson.