The Great Fifty Days

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The feast of Easter is a season of fifty days, from Easter Eve through the Day of Pentecost. From early times the Greek word pentecost (fiftieth day) was used also for the whole Paschal season. During this season there is no fasting. The Council of Nicaea (325) directed that Christians are to pray standing. The word “alleluia” (praise the Lord) is said or sung repeatedly, which contrasts sharply with the season of Lent when the alleluia is omitted. The color of liturgical vestments and hangings is white or gold. The BCP notes that it is customary for the Paschal candle to burn at all services of the Easter season. The “Alleluia, alleluia” may be added to the dismissals and their responses during the Great Fifty Days. The traditional Christian Easter greeting (see Lk 24: 34) serves as the opening acclamation at the eucharist during the Easter season.

Adapted from Don S. Armentrout’s An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church: A User-Friendly Reference for Episcopalians Church Publishing Inc., 2000.

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