Tomorrow is the first Friday in Easter and in the Catholic Church Fridays are days of penance. If a person usually does something small, like not continuously munch on things while at his desk, in Ordinary time and during Lent, is that person permitted (or obligated) to not do those things during Easter?

I know it's one of those things that has to be up to one's conscience, but would a well formed conscience do well to rejoice during the season of Easter rather than continue the same routine they carry during other seasons?

2 Answers 2


In the Roman Catholic Church, the first eight days of the Easter Season make up the Octave of Easter and are celebrated as Solemnities of the Lord according to General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar.

As each of those days is a Feast of the first order, fasting is clearly inappropriate.

Indeed, because The fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost are celebrated in joyful exultation as one feast day, or better as one "great Sunday," (ibid) it may be inappropriate to fast throughout the Easter season. St Augustine said of Sundays, "Fasting is set aside and prayers are said standing, as a sign of the Resurrection, which is also why the Alleluia is sung on every Sunday". (Ep. 55, 28: CSEL 342, 202)


Should one avoid fasting during Easter?

The short answer is: Absolutely no fasting is permitted during the Easter Season.

The fifty days between Easter and Pentecost have ever been considered by the Church as most holy. The first week, which is more expressly devoted to celebrating our Lord’s Resurrection, is kept up as one continued Feast; but the remainder of the fifty days is also marked with special honors. To say nothing of the joy, which is the characteristic of this period of the year, and of which the Alleluia is the expression,- Christian tradition has assigned to Eastertide two practices, which distinguish it from every other Season.

The first is, that fasting is not permitted during the entire interval: it is an extension of the ancient precept of never fasting on a Sunday, and the whole of Eastertide is considered as one long Sunday. This practice, which would seem to have come down from the time of the Apostles, was accepted by the Religious Rules of both East and West, even by the severest.

The second consists in not kneeling at the Divine Office, from Easter to Pentecost. The Eastern Churches have faithfully kept up the practice, even to this day. It was observed for many ages by the Western Churches also; but now, it is little more than a remnant. The Latin Church has long since admitted genuflections in the Mass during Easter time. The few vestiges of the ancient discipline in this regard, which still exist, are not noticed by the faithful, inasmuch as they seldom assist at the Canonical Hours.

Eastertide, then, is like one continued Feast. It is the remark made by Tertullian, in the 3rd century. He is reproaching those Christians who regretted having renounced, by their Baptism, the festivities of the pagan year; and he thus addresses them: "If you love Feasts, you will find plenty among us Christians; not merely Feasts that last only for a day, but such as continue for several days together. - EASTER WITH DOM GUERANGER

Nevertheless abstinence from meat is still the rule on Fridays even in Eastertide although some bishops have given an indult to their faithful when Fridays fall on a Solemnity.

The Church for her part has specified certain forms of penance, both to ensure that the Catholic will do something, as required by divine law, while making it easy for Catholics to fulfill the obligation. Thus, the 1983 Code of Canon Law specifies the obligations of Latin Rite Catholics [Eastern Rite Catholics have their own penitential practices as specified by the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches].

Canon 1250: All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church.

Canon 1251: Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fasting and Abstinence

Although it is traditionally not permitted to fast in Eastertide, other forms of penance are quite permitted, like not munching on goodies while at your desk.

Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus.

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