Little Easter, Easter Monday… Share a Picnic


From our Garden Sanctuary 2015 wall calendar — Summerhouse design by William Woodhouse, Photography © MMGI / Marianne Majerus

When writing about holidays, I’m always looking for patterns, for common elements that bridge cultures and religions. And one of the interesting customs that appears over and over again at this particular moment in spring is a holiday that encourages people to spend the day outdoors.

In the Persian trio of holidays I described in an earlier post, this holiday is called the Sizdeh Bedar (Thirteenth Outside). This year it falls on April 1. People spend the day outside, enjoying picnic foods, singing, and dancing. The sprouted greens (sabzeh) that decorate the Naw-Ruz table are taken out and thrown on the ground or in a river or lake, which carries away any ills that might infect the household during the year.

In the Christian holiday tradition, the Monday after Easter is often treated as a holiday that people spend beside rivers, often splashing each other with water, which also gives it the name of Ducking Monday.

The Poles celebrate the Monday after Easter under the name of Dyngus Day. The customs are familiar: boys splash girls with water and also strike at them with pussy willow wands (both sound like remnants of fertility rituals). In earlier times, the girls had to wait for a chance to get revenge until Thursday, when they threw crockery at the boys. However, now it is more common for them to fight back with water on Monday.

In Italy, the day after Easter Sunday is called La Pasquetta, Little Easter. Everyone goes on a picnic, meant to last all afternoon. They take along an antipasto of a hard-boiled egg and salt and local bitter herbs like arugula or radicchio or fennel.

I like the idea that there is a mandated day for picnics, and although the weather might not be right where you live for an alfresco feast on The Thirteenth Outside, or Easter Monday, you might want to take advantage of the first opportunity that comes your way to spend the day outdoors and create your own Picnic Day.

Waverly FitzgeraldWaverly Fitzgerald is a writer, teacher, and calendar priestess who has studied the lore of holidays and the secrets of time for decades. She shares her research and her thoughts on her Living in Season website and in her book, Slow Time. She is currently working on a series of essays about looking for nature in the city and blogs for the Seattle PI as the “Urban Naturalist.”


This entry was posted in Holiday Lore and tagged , on by .

About Amber Lotus Publishing

We publish calendars, weekly planners, and greeting cards that nurture your heart, renew your soul, and expand your mind. Sharing the diversity of world cultures and sacred traditions as well as the inspiration and beauty of the natural world is our passion. We focus on illuminating the sacred dimensions of everyday life — healthy living, mindfulness, creativity, and earth awareness. WE PLANT TREES to offset our carbon footprint — more than ONE MILLION and growing! Each year we plant over 20 times the number of trees used to create our products

1 thought on “Little Easter, Easter Monday… Share a Picnic

  1. Elyn MacInnis

    What a marvelous idea. I will try to take a picnic outside on Monday if it isn’t raining!

    Here in China the 4-5th of April is the holiday of Qing Ming, “Clear Brightness” festival, or Tomb Sweeping Day. It is a bit like Memorial Day in the US, when families will go out to the tombs of their deceased relatives and clean them up. In China the relatives will sweep the graves, pay respect to the dead person, and leave presents/offerings for them. The offerings are most often the person’s favorite food, along with a kind of paper money. Burning these things “sends the gifts to heaven,” and is a symbolic wish that they will not be lacking food or money. This fashion is constantly changing with the times – in 2015, a paper version of Iphone7 is one of the items people are purchasing to burn for their relatives!

    Thanks for all your terrific information!

    During the Qing Ming period, many people like to go on spring outings to enjoy the brightening green of spring, hiking and having picnics. Spending time outside appreciating nature is a custom that can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907). Flying kites during Qing Ming is also a common custom in China.


Leave a Reply