Easter Monday in Western Christianity Date in the current year: April 22, 2019

Easter Monday in Western Christianity The day after Easter Sunday is called Easter Monday. It is an official holiday in many countries, mostly because Easter always falls on a Sunday, which is already a non-working day for most employees. So Easter Monday is an additional day off on the occasion of Easter.

In Western Christianity, Easter Monday is the second day of Easter Week (the week beginning with Easter, which should not be confused with Holy Week – the week before Easter). The post-Easter festivities indeed used to last for a week, but in most places the celebration was reduced to just one day, Easter Monday, in the 19th century.

Popular Easter Monday traditions in Western countries include egg rolling competitions and dousing other people with water. Although egg rolling is associated with Easter, some researchers claim that the custom has pagan roots. Pagan Anglo-Saxons used to worship the Germanic goddess Ostara (Eostre) around the vernal equinox. As Christianity spread across Europe, the word “Easter” was derived from Ostara’s name, and some of the traditions associated with her cult became associated with Easter, including egg rolling.

The tradition of rolling Easter eggs down grassy hillsides is especially popular in the UK, Germany, Denmark, and Lithuania. In the United States, the President and the First Lady host the annual Easter Egg Roll each Easter Monday. Initiated by James Madison’s wife in 1814, the event involves children aged 13 and younger and their parents.

The secular tradition of dousing each other with water on Easter Monday has religious roots. In predominantly Roman Catholic countries, people would carry holy water home from Easter Sunday Mass to bless the house and food. Over the years, the tradition has transformed into water fights.

This custom is especially popular in Poland, where it is called Śmigus-dyngus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. According to tradition, boys throw water over girls they like and spank them with pussy willow branches. Pussy willow seems to be an alternative to the palm leaves used in Easter celebrations in much of Europe. In Hungary, young men splash young women and girls with water or spray them with cheap perfume. In return, women are expected to offer men a drink of palinka (fruit brandy) or painted eggs.

In many Polish American communities, Easter Monday is observed under the name Dingus Day. Some of the best known celebrations are held in Buffalo, New York; Macedon, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; South Bend, Indiana; Lafayette, Indiana; and Pasadena, California.

Some countries have other religious and secular traditions associated with Easter Monday. For instance, in Australia people enjoy outdoor sporting events. In Austria and South Germany, there’s a Christian tradition named Emmausgang. It’s a spiritual walk with song and prayer commemorating the walk of Jesus’ disciples to Emmaus described in the Gospel of Luke. In the Netherlands, Portugal, and Italy, many people go hiking or picnicking in the countryside.

In the Republic of Ireland, Easter Monday is a day of remembrance for those who died in the Easter Rising of 1916.

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