Easter Monday in Eastern Christianity Date in the current year: May 6, 2024

Easter Monday in Eastern Christianity Easter Monday is the day after Easter. It is a public holiday in some countries with a predominantly Christian population or a large Christian community. In the Eastern Christian tradition, Easter Monday is the second day of the so-called Bright Week.

From the liturgical point of view, the entire Bright Week is considered to be one continuous day. It is the only time of the year when the royal doors of the iconostases are kept open in all churches. This is meant to symbolize the stone rolled away from the tomb where Jesus Christ’s body lay until his resurrection. Funeral services and Parakleses (Molebens) held during the week are served according to a special rite.

In Eastern churches that follow the Byzantine Rite, the Monday of Bright Week is referred to as Bright Monday or Renewal Monday. The services on this day are similar to those of Easter Sunday and differ greatly from the services during the rest of the year. For example, the Divine Liturgy is celebrated on Bright Monday, followed by an outdoor procession around the church, at which the Icon of the Resurrection and the Artos (a loaf of leavened bread that is blessed during the service) are carried.

In many countries, Easter Monday is associated with folk customs and traditions. For example, in Western Ukraine, it is known as Water Plunge Monday because of a tradition that involves boys throwing water over girls they like. The custom was borrowed from Poland, where it is known as Smigus-dyngus, when what is now Western Ukraine was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

On Water Plunge Monday, boys would splash water of the girls they like and lightly spank them with pussy willows. Sometimes, girls would even be dragged to a nearby pond or river and thrown into water. The girls would pretend to be angry, but being drenched or thrown into water was actually considered flattering since it meant that a girl was thought to be attractive. The most attractive girls could expect to be soaked repeatedly during the day.

Girls had a chance to save themselves from drenching by giving boys painted Easter eggs as “ransom”. Besides, they could get their revenge and soak boys on Easter Tuesday. However, in many regions both girls and boys threw water over each other on Water Plunge Monday. In Carpathian Ruthenia, people soak each other for three straight days after Easter: on Monday, boys soak girls; on Tuesday, girls soak boys; finally, Wednesday is the day of water fights where it’s every man for himself.

In some countries, Easter Monday is a public holiday and an official non-working day. They include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine.

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Easter Monday, Bright Monday, Renewal Monday, religious holiday, Eastern Christianity