Ask the UMC: Why is the Easter season 50 days long?

Easter for Christians is not just one day, but rather a 50-day period. The season of Easter, or Eastertide, begins at sunset on the eve of Easter and ends on Pentecost, the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church (see Acts 2).

Easter is also more than just an extended celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. In the early church, Lent was a season for new converts to learn about the faith and prepare for baptism on Easter Sunday. The initial purpose of the 50-day Easter season was to continue the faith formation of new Christians.

Today, this extended season gives us time to rejoice and experience what it means when we say Christ is risen. It’s the season when we remember our baptisms and how through this sacrament we are, according to the liturgy, “incorporated into Christ’s mighty acts of salvation.” As “Easter people,” we also celebrate and ponder the birth of the Church and gifts of the Spirit (Pentecost), and how we are to live as faithful disciples of Christ.

To learn more about Easter, visit our Lent & Easter FAQs section.

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General Conference
Spare voting machines rest on a table at the 2019 United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Ask The UMC: How are decisions made at General Conference?

General Conference is the highest legislative body in The United Methodist Church. It usually convenes once every four years to determine the denomination’s future direction.
Theology and Education
Clockwise from top left: Detail from Butyka Mausoleum by Globetrotter19, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; stained glass window by Kathleen Barry, UM News; Bible and cross by Mike DuBose, UMNS; detail of aanchor and two fish courtesy of Catacombe Domitilla; the Rev. George Miller by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Ask The UMC: Why do missionaries wear an anchor cross?

When missionaries are commissioned for service, an anchor cross is placed around their necks, as a symbol of their call to mission service.
Evangelism
World map, courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Ask The UMC: Is The UMC in Canada, Australia, Latin America, Asia?

Get a history lesson about the Methodist presence in these parts of the world.