Historically, the Paschal or Easter cycle began to develop much earlier than the Christmas cycle, because the feast of the Pasch was in practice earlier than the feast of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas). With the Easter cycle, we shall begin a more detailed explanation of the Liturgical Year.
The Easter cycle begins with the Sunday ten weeks before Easter, and terminates eight weeks after Easter. The Easter cycle is divided into pre-paschal, i.e., the season or period before Easter, and the Easter season. The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (March 5, 2014), and ends with the Celebration of the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday (April 17, 2014).
The Paschal Triduum begins on Holy Thursday with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (April 17, 2014), and ends with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday (April 20, 2014).
The Easter Season begins on Easter Sunday (April 20, 2014), and ends with Evening Prayer on the Solemnity of Pentecost (Sunday, June 8, 201).
Ordinary Time begins after Evening Prayer on the Solemnity of Pentecost (June 8, 2014) and continues until Evening Prayer of the First Sunday of Advent (November 30, 2014).
One who closely follows the Liturgical Year of our Church will readily perceive, that she re-lives each festal event in a deeply spiritual manner. This may be observed in our feastday services which, with their profound prayers, songs, hymns and symbolic rites, place before our eyes both the factual content and the deep theology of each feast. Therefore, it should not surprise us that the feastday services impress us so strongly and stir us to the depths of our souls. This is why the Church diligently prepares the faithful spiritually, psychologically and physically for every feast. Therefore the greater the feast, the greater and longer is the preparation for it, and the longer is the post-festal celebration.
This is why the feast of the Resurrection of our Lord, which is the greatest feast in the Year, requires an extraordinarily long preparation as well as a long post-festal celebration which is, as it were, a prolongation of the feast of Easter.