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What Is Easter Monday?

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  • Written By: Caitlin Shih
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2016
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Easter Monday refers to the Monday after Easter and is often considered a holiday and celebrated in many areas around the world. In terms of faith, the observance of Easter Monday has its roots in a post-Resurrection celebration and reverence of Christ's rising from the dead, but the holiday has also been used in secular form as a sort of spring festival, celebrating the season and saying goodbye to winter. Some countries, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, celebrate the day as Wet Monday or Dyngus Day. In other countries, the holiday is simply a time to take off work and enjoy the outdoors in various ways.

In Christian settings, the celebration of Easter Monday has its roots in the Bible in Matthew 28, in which Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, are greeted by the resurrected Christ after discovering His empty tomb. Although scared, they are overjoyed and adore Him, and go to tell the others. In this sense, Easter Monday is seen as a likewise post-Resurrection time of adoration and jubilation and originally even comprised the entire post-Easter week. In secular life, the holiday has its roots in various Pagan rituals depending on the area, most of which revolve around the celebration of springtime. Easter eggs and egg-rolling races most likely come from these origins.

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Although Easter Monday is not widely recognized throughout the United States, certain areas in the country still observe it. The day is an unofficial holiday in North Dakota, where children are off from school, and the White House holds an egg-rolling competition every year in Washington D.C. which is combined with other outdoor festivities. Egg-rolling competitions are also common in other various European countries, such as England, Germany, and Denmark.

Dyngus Day is a specific form of observance of Easter Monday and is celebrated primarily in the Czech Republic and Poland or Polish-influenced areas. In the ritual for Dyngus Day, young boys will often soak girls with buckets of water, sometimes early in the morning to wake them up, and hit their legs with small twigs or pieces of willow. In the past, this practice has been associated with marriage, in which girls that received soakings and hits were considered to be the ones most likely to marry. Later takes on the ritual, such as in the US cities of Buffalo and Chicago, have altered it to become a general water gun festivity. Dyngus Day may have originated from a combination of Pagan and Christian influences: the water may be rooted in baptism or in the Pagan practice of cleansing oneself by soaking in water or whipping oneself with twigs.

In other areas, Easter Monday is simply a public holiday, such as Canada, Guyana, England, and the Netherlands. Families will take the opportunity to relax and participate in different outdoor activities such as hiking, kite-flying, or cycling. In Leicestershire, England, people participate in bottle-kicking matches, and those in the Netherlands sometimes start out the day with a festive breakfast.

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