Each year, more and more churches of all persuasions all over the United States, and in far corners of the world, are celebrating the Easter season in new ways.
Urged on by the Fellowship of Merry Christians in the United States, churches are resurrecting old old Christian customs from Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant traditions. One old custom originating in Bavarian practice has the faithful gathering back in church Easter afternoon for a time of story-telling and practical joking. Early orthodox churches gathered on the Monday after Easter to tell stories, jokes and anecdotes. To this day in Slavic regions Christians gather the day after Easter for folk dancing and feasting in the churchyard.
This was a time of celebrating the big joke that God pulled on Satan. It is known as Bright Monday, White Monday, Dyngus Day, and Emmaus Day in various countries. Wherever it is celebrated, by whatever name, it is characterized by joking around, singing, dancing, and merry-making.
The Latins call it Risus Paschalis — God’s Joke, the Easter Laugh.
Some start on April Fool’s Day to prepare for the divine folly of the Easter surprise.
Some churches celebrate the Sunday after Easter as Holy Hilarity Sunday.
Others call it Holy Humor Sunday, Holy Fools Sunday, or Bright Sunday. But, whatever it is called, we celebrate Risus Paschalis.
Take a look at some of the resources collected here and plan a celebration that is appropriate to your situation. Let us know what you do and how you celebrate risus paschalis.