Why is Easter Monday a public holiday in France? Origin and history of the celebration

Published by Caroline J. · Photos by My B. · Published on 5 April 2021 at 09h06 · Updated on 5 April 2021 at 09h06
This is one of the dates – if not the date – the most important in the Christian calendar. You may have guessed it; I am talking about Easter. But do you know exactly what Catholics and Protestants celebrate on that day and why Easter Monday a public holiday is? We tell you more about it.

The Assumption, the Ascension, and especially Easter. Even though for many people, and especially children, Easter is all about good food, chocolates and more, for Christians, this is the most important day in their religious calendar.

Therefore, on Easter Sunday, Christians commemorate the resurrection of Jesus, that is to say, when the Christ moved from death to life after being crucified. As for Protestants and Catholics, Easter is celebrated on Sunday following the Spring full moon.

But why is Easter Monday a public holiday and what is celebrated? In theory, nothing special. To understand why Easter Monday is a public holiday, you have to go all the way back to the Middle Ages. At that time, the eight days following Easter Sunday were called “the Octave of Easter” and were off. A week off with Masses celebrated daily, and pilgrims had the time to go to Rome and come back.

But this week off disappears in 1801 following the signing of the first Concordat between the Pope and Napoléon Bonaparte – who was First Consul. Easter Monday is the only day that remained off. An extra public holiday in the French public holiday calendar that is very delighting!

Practical information

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