Midnight Pascha Service…with a toddler!

Pascha 2014 Gregory and Momma When people hear about how much time we spend in church during Easter, they think we’re crazy. Since having kids, we spend less time than we used to, but it’s still a lot when you compare it to pretty much any other church. For example, we took both kids to the Good Friday service, which is essentially a 2 hour burial in a mostly dark church. Our 3 year old was awestruck the entire time and couldn’t stop talking about how Jesus died and was wrapped in a sheet. At one point, he even went up to our 2 year old and hissed, “AJ! Stand up! Jesus DIED.”

After the burial service, there is a short break for dinner before everyone reconvenes for another 2 hour service. On Saturday, starting at 11:30pm, we have the Divine Liturgy Pascha Service that goes until 2 am. Yes, 2 in the morning! Even crazier, this year we decided to bring our 3 year old again instead of letting him sleep at the grandparents house, as is our usual custom. We saw how enraptured he was at the Good Friday service and couldn’t wait to share the Pascha celebration with him for the first time (to see last years Pascha celebration, click here).Pascha 2014 Gregory with a candle And I’m so glad we brought him! As crazy as it sounds, keeping a 3 year old up until 3am (including the feast afterwards), he was very well behaved and loved it. We have a small church, so I was not only able to get him to the front of almost every event so he could see up close, but we were also able to roll out a little sleeping bag for him in the front of the church so he could rest whenever he felt like it (spoiler alert…he didn’t rest!). In the beginning, we sing hymns in the dark over Christ’s tomb. We light candles (Gregory’s favorite part by far!) and process around the church three times. We knock at the door, and when we enter the church once more, the tomb is gone, the lights on, and everyone shouting joyously that Christ is Risen!

If getting home from all that at 4am isn’t enough, we headed back at noon the following day for Agape Vespers, a short 1.5 hour service followed by another feast. Orthodox Christians LOVE their meat and dairy, especially after 40 days of not eating any! The church held an Easter Egg hunt for the kids and also handed out goodie bags filled with bubbles and art supplies for each of them.

Our annual Agape Vespers photo

Our annual Agape Vespers photo

Gregory holding candy   Church of the Anunciation altar   Candles and icons   Pascha Church doors Gregory finding Easter Eggs blog Gregory with Easter Eggs blog The rest of our day was filled with a big dinner feast with both of our families, complete with another Easter Egg hunt that my sister in law organized and ran for all the kids. What are your favorite Easter traditions? Let me know in the comments!

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  • http://a-life-from-scratch.com/ Courtney G.

    Wow! You are one brave mama to do a midnight service with a toddler – major props to you!! 🙂 Happy belated Easter!

    • themrscone

      Our church is so accommodating, I really wasn’t that brave at all 🙂

    • http://www.ourconezone.com Kelly Cone

      Oh, our church is so accommodating, I really didn’t have to be that brave at all 🙂