Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Risus Paschalis -- Easter Laughter

In Bavaria in the 15th Century, a custom arose of celebrating the Sunday after Easter as the Risus Paschalis, the Easter laugh. Priests would include jokes and funny stories in their sermons. The congrega-tion would gather after Easter services to tell stories and play practical jokes. It was a time to celebrate the big joke that God pulled on Satan by resurrecting Jesus.

Well, that couldn't last. Pope Clement X outlawed the Risus Paschalis in the 17th century. I guess folks were having too much of a good time.

An old friend of mine, Greg Risberg, goes around the country giving seminars on the importance of laughter and humor in reducing stress (he'll be at Ingham Regional Medical Center in May). He says studies show you need to laugh 24 times a day to stay healthy.

So on this April Fool's Day, enjoy some Easter Laughter. Play a prank. Tell a joke. Have a giggle or a guffaw. Christ is risen, and God is laughing at the very good joke.

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