Few childhood memories are more vivid and memorable than waking up Easter morning with that thrilling sensation that a friendly rabbit had been hopping around your home, hiding a candy filled basket for you to hunt for in the morning. The smell of vinegar brings you back to the DIY egg-coloring kits that your family poured over just before the Easter Bunny’s visit. A hunt for colorful, plastic eggs with your cousins was a favorite pass time, and the food was always overflowing. Whatever your Easter traditions may have been or continue to be, few actually point back roughly 2,000 years to the reason the holiday is celebrated to this day.

Did you know that in the Catholic church, Easter lasts for 50 days?! You’re going to need a bigger Easter basket, friends.  If you do the math, that’s seven weeks plus one day. That one-day-outlier is Easter Sunday! The other seven weeks or 49 days all follow Easter Sunday in celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.  How does one gear up for a 49 day feast?

About four weeks ago on Ash Wednesday, Christians entered into the liturgical season of Lent, which is a cleansing and meditative time comprised of roughly 40 days. During these 40 days, individuals may choose to give something up- chocolate, coffee, soda, or other daily addictions- in attempt to deepen their relationship with God and their reliance on Him for strength. These 40 days of cleansing and meditation prepare the church community for the last 3 of the 40 days; Good Friday, the day Jesus died, Holy Saturday, the day Jesus laid in the tomb, and Easter Sunday, the day Jesus came back to life, ascended into Heaven, and opened the previously closed gates for us to someday be able to enter our intended home. Whoa, what?

Remember the story of Adam and Eve? The tale of the couple’s forbidden fruit-swiping is said to have caused the closing of the gates to Heaven, thus disabling entry. You can see the conundrum this caused for those who had high hopes of the eternal afterlife that is Heaven. Fortunately, Jesus took matters into His own hands and gifted the world the biggest sacrifice of all, His life. Hence forth, we call the celebration of the rising of Jesus and the rebirth of the world, Easter.

What a cause for 7 weeks of feasting! Here’s to hoping you enjoy your Easter break, the abundance of food and candy, and your new life.