8 Facts for the Octave (Part 2)

Here we go with the second half of this Easter Octave octet.

Looking back at part one, so far I've encouraged you to go shopping, play baseball, speak other languages, and party hard.

Now, I'm going to encourage you to eat meat, ring bells, bake bread, and play pranks.

Here is fact #5, facts #6-8 are beyond the jump.

#5 - Feasting, Not Fasting 
Yes, that is a pirate ship made of meat.
Most Catholics in the know understand that all Fridays throughout the year (not just Fridays of Lent) are days of penance, and thus are days when abstinence from meat is prescribed (CIC 1250-1251). In the US, our episcopal conference has provided for the option to substitute some other form of penance.

Today's Friday right? So this means abstinence or some other form of penance, right?


Because today really isn't a Friday. It's like Easter Sunday.

And per Canon 1251, since today is a solemnity, we need not abstain from meat, and even more forcefully, we should not abstain from meat. Feasting, not fasting, y'all. Celebrate the joy of Easter.

Given this, the Friday within the Octave of Easter has been a day where Catholics joyfully embrace all that is meat.

So, eat some meat today! Or if you practice Facebook Fridays, feel free to go on a photo tagging spree.

Or if you are ambitious enough – aaaarrrgh! – get together with some friends and enjoy the deliciousness of a pirate ship made out of meat (pictured above).

#6 - Quasimodo Sunday
Everyone's favorite hunchback owes his name to the Easter Octave.

You see, the name Quasimodo comes from the Latin text of the traditional introit for the Octave day of Easter, the day that Quasimodo is laid on the steps of Cath├ędrale Notre-Dame de Paris in Victor Hugo's tale. The introit begins with: “Quasi modo geniti infantes..." ("As newborn babies...", from 1:Peter2:2).

That's right, before Disney introduced us to talking gargoyles, and even before Mr. Hugo penned his tragically beautiful tale, people knew the eighth day of the Easter Octave as “Quasimodo Sunday.”

So on Sunday, it would be apropos to stuff a pillow down the back of your shirt, climb a tower, and ring some bells. Er, just don't push anyone off said tower, that wouldn't really be an act of paschal love.

#7 - One Bread... in my body

If you made it out to Mass on Tuesday, you would have heard the account of the Road to Emmaus. Without getting into the story too much – if you want, you can read it yourself, Luke 24 – there's a beautiful account of the breaking of bread.

Bread is important to us, y'all.

Just look at all the different cultures that have a special Paschal Bread that is usually eaten during the Octave of Easter. Here are a few examples:

Armenian Choereg
Dutch Paasbrood
Greek Tsoureki
Spanish Hornazo

In case you wanted to have some of your own bread blessed, you could always ask a priest to say this traditional blessing of bread:
Domine Jesu Christe, panis Angelorum, panis vivus aeternae vitae, benedicere dignare panem istum, sicut benedixisti quinque panes in deserto: ut omnes ex eo gustantes, inde corporis et animae percipiant sanitatem. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen
O Lord Jesus Christ, Bread of the Angels and Living Bread of eternal life, deign to bless this bread as Thou didst bless the five loaves in the desert: that all who taste it may receive health in body and soul. Thou who livest and reignest unto endless ages. Amen.

#8 - Why so serious?!

Hopefully throughout this week you have experienced the Easter joy spread throughout our Christian brethren. Joy - that's what it is about.

This isn't a new theology. Even the early Church Fathers understood this joy, calling the period after Easter the Risus Paschalis, or the Easter Laugh. Why laugh? Because Easter is the triumphant joke played on the Devil. At Christ's death, the devil thought he won, but on Easter it was God who was in fact victorious. The devil got punk'd, if you will.

In celebrating this Easter joy, many cultures have traditions of pulling pranks on one another during the Octave. Several European cultures celebrate some form of a drenching tradition similar to the Polish Smingus-Dyngus day. On that day, Easter Monday, boys go around drenching girls with water, and vice versa.

Some others pull different types of Easter pranks. Take for example these parents who gave their daughter an Easter basket of Brussel Sprouts (the girl's expressions are great):

So, don't take this week too seriously. Christ is victorious, have some fun.

Well on that note, so ends this Easter Octave octet. However, a few more days remain of the Octave, brethren, so keep on partying, go shopping, ring some bells, eat some meat, and pull some pranks.

Christus Resurrexit!