I n the weeks leading up to the holiday that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection and all things Peeps, I’d been asking, “But why Easter Monday?”

We’d received word that our oldest boy would have two school vacation days tied to Easter – the preceding Friday and the following Monday, Easter Monday.

My husband and I totally understood Good Friday’s observance – the day itself has heavy significance, recognized even by some organizations that aren’t religiously affiliated. But if memory serves, Lent’s 40 days lead to Easter Sunday’s fête of ham feasting and egg hunting, and that’s a wrap, folks.

Like a Cadbury egg in patterned tin foil.

Come Monday, Easter candy is 50 percent off, so one would think Sunday signifies the end of the holiday, albeit not liturgically.

 

 

Easter Sunday’s end is marked by the ritualistic stain removal from kiddos’ Sunday best outfits by exhausted parents who stayed up far too late to catch “The 10 Commandments” TV special while assembling Easter baskets Saturday.

Hey, I had no idea that commercials would stretch the epic to a five-hour feature. Talk about biblical proportions. Regardless, Sunday night is time for winding down before it’s life as usual Monday morning .

Except for our oldest.

Because it’s ‘Easter Monday,’ a jolly holiday that was somehow devised in the time lapse between our son’s and our own parental school days of yore.

My husband and I certainly never had the day following Easter off from school.

But perhaps we should have.

The Easter celebration is a great gathering often overshadowed when compared to other holiday get-togethers.

If you think about it, Easter usually comes tertiary in popularity and hype to Christmas and Thanksgiving, two gargantuan events that take place within weeks of each other, both heartwarming occasions set during an otherwise cold, dark year’s end.

When one imagines times of year in which loved ones gather for holidays, it’s Noel that comes to mind, not its springtime outlier.

But that’s not quite fair.

Easter is no less work for hosts and travelers alike.

It’s less gift-wrapping and tree assembly, but it’s filling plastic spheres late in the evening and concocting elaborate egg hunts.

It’s a little less talking turkey, but a lot more hamming it up.

No matter how you look at it, Easter’s still an enormous feast prepared by those who host, just as much as its yuletide counterparts.

Our family traveled Saturday and Sunday of Easter weekend for two celebrations. We attended Mass, then visited loved ones as sunset crept in, concluding in a homecoming Sunday evening of early pajamas, chicken noodle soup and nibbles of leftover coconut cake as my husband and I valiantly tried to explain to our 4-year-old that “The Ten Commandments’” star was not named ‘Moses Supposes’.

With bellies full, eyes bleary, dressy clothes chocolatestained, we soaked in happy and blessed memories of the weekend as we cozily ate our soup.

I realized what it is that truly sets Easter apart from other major holidays. Thanksgiving is followed by a long weekend, and Christmas by an entire school vacation.

This time allows us to recuperate from family travels and bask in wonderful reminiscences without rushing the high of the happiness as we put our kitchen back together.

Easter weekend just ends too soon.

Exhaustion was clear in our young tots’ eyes Easter evening, and it was then I finally realized the purpose of Easter Monday.

The day’s not itself a holiday event, but a day to help transition from the busyness of days celebrating with loved ones back to school’s return once more. For us big kids, Monday was back to work as usual.

But we were glad for our kiddos to have a restful day after a great night’s sleep.

And what better way to celebrate this respite than to dig right into chocolate bunny heads and sticker books?

Easter Monday. Now I get it.

And Holy Moses, I must excuse myself now to hunt down some leftover Cadbury eggs.

— Michelle Cote is the art director of the Journal Tribune. She enjoys cooking, baking, and living room dance-offs with her husband, two boys and a dog. She can be contacted at [email protected]


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