Pascha isn’t just one day of celebration. Much like our twelve days of Christmas, we have entire seven days of joy that we call Bright Week, during which we Orthodox are not permitted to fast. We are to fully celebrate and enjoy the great gift of salvation, all week long!
So how are you planning on celebrating on Pascha all week long? Here are some ideas:
- Let some of the everyday rules slide. On Pascha, Jesus turned the world upside-down, and by relaxing household rules we can give children a small taste of that. Every Pascha, our kids (currently 18 months, 5, and 7) are allowed to eat anything they want, and watch as much TV as they want. This doesn’t happen at any other time of year, not even for birthdays, which makes it really exciting for them, and helps to make sure the sweets disappear quickly (how convenient!). This may not work with every family the same way, but the principle is to create an atmosphere of freedom and joy.
- Attend the Agape Vespers Service and other regular services during the week, as a way of giving thanks for the amazing gift God has given us. The Pascha service isn’t an ending point–it’s just the beginning. Coming together as a community and sharing the foods we’ve all been missing enhances our bonds and sweetens the celebration.
- Share your celebration with others–give small gifts in celebration to your neighbors and the needy, even if they don’t celebrate Pascha. You never know what topic may open up discussion–perhaps they’re curious about your bread recipe, or why your calendar is different from Western Christians. Some of the small traditions and crafts are really conversation-starters for both our children and those around us.
How do you celebrate Bright Week? Share your traditions!