More than just one day, celebration of the season of Easter continues for seven Sundays for the community of faith. After the penitential season of Lent, the season of Eastertide—which coincides with spring--celebrates God's creation and His new creation, the Church. Known by the early church as the Great Fifty Days, the season beginning with Easter and culminating with Pentecost commemorates the fifty days between the resurrection of the Christ and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. The chancel retains the white vestments until Pentecost when the red vestments signify the Holy Spirit's coming to the Church. Visuals for the season include doves and fire signifying the Holy Spirit.
The festival of the Ascension is also celebrated during Eastertide. Though the early church celebrated the Ascension on Pentecost, it has since become customary to celebrate the Ascension of the fortieth day after Easter or the Sunday before Pentecost. Pentecost Sunday concludes the second cycle of the Christian year—the Easter cycle. The Christian festival of Pentecost coincides with the Jewish festival of the First Fruits (also known as Pentecost) celebrating the bestowal of the Torah upon His chosen people and which concludes the season begun at Passover.
While Lent could be considered a season of reflection, Eastertide can provide an opportunity for renewal as the community of faith examines in depth the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church—both past and present. He has sent us a Comforter: the Holy Spirit. Thanks be to God!
Hickman, Hoyt. United Methodist Worship. 1991. Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN.
The United Methodist Book of Worship. 1992. The United Methodist Publishing House: Nashville, TN.
United Methodist Calendar & Workbook 2009. 2008. Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN.