Easter Observances in the Artful Dilettante’s Childhood Home

By my mother’s reckoning, Lent is over tomorrow at noon, after which we can eat meat, drink, and well, put our Lenten abstentions away for another year.

As a family, we observed three hours of silence every Good Friday from noon-3, the traditional time Our Lord and Savior was hung on the Cross. Mom maintained (and enforced) all fasting and abstinence laws from midnight Holy Thursday through Holy Saturday at noon.  On Holy Thursday, all Catholic Churches in our town maintained all-night vigils with litanies and novenas.  The physically able participated in the traditional Holy Thursday Seven Church Walk, during which we walked all over town to seven Catholic Churches to recite litanies and novenas and pray the Rosary. We had our Easter Baskets with Paska (bread) and undyed hard-boiled eggs blessed on Holy Saturday afternoon.

These were once time-honored Observances now all but forgotten. It dignified and strengthened our Faith, and like similar Christmas Eve Observances, harkened back to the Jewish Passover. We must never forget that Our Lord was a strictly observant Jew and student of the yeshiva. Whether they know it or not, Christians honor this Reality every Christmas and Easter.

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