EASTER MONDAY. Celebrated in France for several centuries, Easter Monday will be celebrated on April 1, 2024, and it’s not an April Fool’s joke. This popular festival, as much Christian as cultural, is a public holiday. Many outings are to be expected.

[Updated March 28, 2024 at 5:37 p.m.] Easter Monday, which always occurs the day after Easter Sunday, is a movable date. This year 2024, it takes place this Monday April 1st and it’s not an April Fool’s joke! This date is particularly rare because it is only the 7th time it has occurred on April 1st since 1900.

Easter Monday is a public holiday which takes place during the week following Resurrection Sunday, called the “Octave of Easter”, formerly an entirely public holiday. In France, since the Concordat, only Monday is a public holiday, and not the whole week. A true symbol of the Christian religion for more than 2,000 years, Easter Monday is associated with the Easter festival which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and brings together thousands of faithful from all continents each year. But you don’t have to be a Christian to relate to the stories of Easter, which speak of the victory of life over chaos. Easter Monday is an opportunity for many people to extend the weekend. Take some ideas for outings for the Easter weekend from our file below:

The Easter Monday holiday is a gesture by Napoleon after the concordat. The future emperor chose to end the long Easter period during which the majority of French people were unemployed. From now on, the week following Easter Sunday will no longer be a public holiday, only the first Monday will remain, as a sign of compensation and compromise with the Church. Napoleon Bonaparte’s arbitrary decision to keep the second day of the Octave of Easter as a public holiday was followed by many European countries, and spread little by little. Easter Monday is therefore a public holiday in all European countries, except in Portugal.

Another relic of history, three days before Easter Monday, Good Friday is a public holiday in three departments in eastern France: in Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and in Moselle. For what ? Because in 1892, this part of France, annexed in 1871 by the German Empire, established a Good Friday holiday for its entire territory. This day of rest is not just a tradition, it is now a right enshrined in the Labor Code, in article L3134-13.

Napoleon I always maintained conflicting relations with the Church and the papacy. To strengthen his power and seeing the clergy as a threat, Bonaparte will try to submit the religious to civil power. It is from this desire that the concordat was born, supposed to find a balance between the monarchy of divine rights and the anticlericalism which prevailed during the revolution. But the popes who succeeded one another during his reign will take a very dim view of this attempt to submit the Church of France to the State, when it only has orders to receive from Rome. The conflict (and blockade) with Great Britain and the wars with neighboring monarchies will be other reasons for disagreements.

But what really broke Napoleon’s relations with the papacy remained his attempt to exploit the Church. Napoleon Bonaparte will first negotiate with Pope Pius VII, often presented as a moderate. He even managed to bring him to Paris in 1804, for his imperial coronation, against the advice of the Curia. During the coronation, Napoleon placed the crown on his head, refusing to allow Pius VII to crown him. Historians also say that Napoleon and his wife Joséphine, already civilly married, had only married religiously a few hours earlier, having not considered it useful to do so until now. The coronation of Napoleon will be considered a humiliation by the Roman Curia.

Despite several attempts at conciliation from 1804, the two parties moved away from 1806. Many subjects made Napoleon and the Pope irreconcilable, in particular the fact that Rome did not respect the blockade imposed by Napoleon on his enemies. Rome was occupied by the emperor, who was also king of Italy, in 1808. Papal provinces were annexed. Pius VII ends up excommunicating the emperor and will then be kidnapped by Lieutenant Radet. The sovereign pontiff becomes prisoner of Bonaparte. Pius VII, placed under house arrest for 6 years, was not released and rehabilitated until 1814, after the defeat of Napoleon. Many historians believe that this conflict with the church precipitated its fall.

This pagan holiday isn’t just about eating chocolate! To know the reasons for this Christian, but also popular, fervor, we need to go back a little. The explanation is to be sought in the Catholic tradition which pushed the French, since the Middle Ages, to celebrate the “Octave of Easter”. Concretely, it is a period of eight days, beginning on Easter Sunday and ending on Sunday “in Albis”, during which the faithful were invited to go to mass every day to hear the same prayer, that of the Resurrection of Christ.

The repetitive nature of this tradition had a very specific meaning, since it solemnized the Catholic liturgy and reminded everyone that the return of Christ extends beyond the Easter feast. This week was also an opportunity for all those who wished to go to Rome for one of the most important pilgrimages of the year. But after the Revolution, the increasingly pronounced administration of the French state, as well as the demands of the economy, gradually called this practice into question. In 1801, Napoleon decided to legislate on this tradition when establishing the Concordat. The organization of religious practices in France is placed under the authority of the First Consul, the privileges of the Catholic clergy are abolished, Napoleon puts an end to the authority of Rome over the French episcopate.

Easter Monday is celebrated on April 1, 2024. This key date of the Easter period changes each year and depending on the country. In France, this holiday is also called “the eighth day” among believers. The opportunity, whatever the edition, to enjoy a day off, and why not sunny. Associated with the religious festival of Easter which it follows by one day, Easter Monday represents one of the 6 public holidays associated with a religious festival in France, such as the days of the ascension and Pentecost. or even All Saints’ Day. It is therefore synonymous every year with a long weekend to enjoy spring.