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Easter Week is the period of seven days from Easter Sunday through the Saturday following. It follows Holy Week. The synonymous term Octave of Easter indicates the Easter Week together with the Divine Mercy Sunday.
In the Latin Rite of Catholicism, Anglican and other Western churches, Easter Week is the week beginning with the Christian feast of Easter and ending a week later on Easter Saturday. The term is sometimes inaccurately used to mean the week before Easter, which is properly known as Holy Week, and particularly confusing in this context is the secular misuse of the term Easter Saturday to refer to the day known liturgically as Holy Saturday or Easter Eve (the day before Easter), rather than the Saturday following Easter.
While the first day of Easter Week is called Easter Day or Easter Sunday, the other days in the week may be designated according to any of the following patterns: (1) Monday of Easter Week (e.g. in the Church of England's Common Worship calendar), (2) Monday in Easter Week (e.g., in the Anglican Church's Book of Common Prayer calendar), or (3) Easter Monday. In former years, Easter, as the most important celebration in Christianity, was observed for a week, and it still is celebrated in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church and Anglicanism with an octave. The Te Deum is sung at the conclusion of Matins/Office of Readings and the Gloria in excelsis Deo is sung at Mass each day of the Octave. The paschal sequence, Victimae Paschali Laudes, may be sung before the Gospel reading on each of these days as well and the gospel readings for each of these days is a scriptural account of the resurrection of Christ (Monday—Matthew 28:8-15; Tuesday—John 20:11-18; Wednesday—Luke 24:13-35; Thursday—Luke 24:35-48; Friday—John 21:1-14; Saturday—Mark 16:9-15).
Owing to modern working patterns, many Easter celebrations now occur only on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday (the latter known in some places, especially those under Polish and Bohemian influence, as "Dyngus Day"). Easter Tuesday is a public holiday in Tasmania observed by some awards/agreements and the State Public Service. Easter Monday is also a national holiday in the Scandinavian countries which have Lutheran state churches, and in The Netherlands.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church and in Eastern Catholic Churches, the days of Bright Week are named: Bright Monday, Bright Tuesday, etc. Each day repeats the joyful hymns of Pascha (Easter), with only a few variations, taken from the Octoechos, according to the Eight Tones of the Orthodox liturgy. One tone (with the exception of the Seventh Tone—known as the "Grave Tone") is assigned to each day:
- Sunday of Pascha (Tone One)
- Bright Monday (Tone Two)
- Bright Tuesday (Tone Three)
- Bright Wednesday (Tone Four)
- Bright Thursday (Tone Five)
- Bright Friday (Tone Six)
- Bright Saturday (Tone Eight)
Bright Week is considered to be one single joyful day, although the celebrations on the Sunday of Pascha are the most solemn. The Divine Services are completely different during this time than any other time of the year. Everything during the service is sung joyfully, rather than read. There is no reading from the Psalter, and the services are much shorter than usual. There is no fasting during Bright Week. The Holy Doors in the iconostasis remain open throughout the entire week, and the Artos (a leavened loaf of bread that was blessed during the Paschal Vigil) remains in the church and is venerated by everyone as they enter the temple as a way of "greeting the Resurrected Christ".
Bright Friday is the annual feast day of the Theotokos (Mother of God), as the "Life-giving Spring", and there are optional hymns which may be chanted in honor of the feast in addition to the paschal hymns. If any other feasts on the fixed cycle occur during Bright Week, they are transferred to a convenient day after Thomas Sunday.
Just before the beginning of the Ninth Hour on Bright Saturday, the Holy Doors are closed, and the services begin to return to their more normal form, although the chanting of the Troparion of Pascha, "Christ is risen from the dead...", as well as certain other paschal hymns, continue to be chanted until Ascension.
- "The Calendar: The Seasons". The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England. 2000–2006. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- "Statutory Holidays Act 2000". Government of Tasmania.
- "Public holidays for 2014". workplacestandards.tas.gov.au.
Media related to Holy Week at Wikimedia Commons