Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How To: Bury the "A" Word

Waaaay up high, where little hands can't reach it
While going over some things for Lent with my kids last week, one of the things I reminded them of was that we don't say a certain "A" word during Lent, not even on Sundays.  We discussed what we sing instead, and why, and what the "A" word means, and all that lovely stuff, but they just didn't seem to get the importance of it.  You see, I love singing the "A" word.  It's in almost all of my absolute favorite songs, such as "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today!" and "The Strife Is O'er".  It's one of my favorite parts of Mass, always has been.  Let's face it, the "A" word rocks, and singing it just takes it to a whole. 'Nother.  Level.  I have always looked forward to Easter Sunday, for as long as I can remember, not only for all the awesomeness that is Easter (both religious and secular) but specifically for the return of the "Big A".  I want my kids to feel the same way, and that is how this next project was born.

Burying Wrapping the "A" Word

This is apparently a fairly old tradition in the Roman Catholic Church at least that dates back to the Middle Ages.  Before the start of Lent, the faithful would intone one last, glorious rendition of the the "A" Word and then, they would bury a magnificently decorated scroll or banner of some kind, emblazoned with it, in a small coffin.  There would be a huge candlelit procession from the church to the cemetery. Once buried, the candles would be extinguished, signaling the beginning of Lent.  There it would remain until the just before dawn on Easter Sunday, when the congregation would again process, in darkness this time, to the grave.  The coffin would be exhumed and carried back to the church where it the scroll would be brought out and all would sing a joyful chorus of the "A" Word, letting all know that Christ is risen and all is right with the world again.

Fast forward to now.  Our parish does not do this ceremony and has not as along as I've been alive.  I'm not sure if it ever did.  When I read about it though, in my searching for Lenten activities, I liked the sound of it.  When my children just weren't getting how important the absence of the "A" Word is during Lent, I knew I had to try it.  Just one problem.  We don't have a yard, much less a graveyard in which to bury anything.  Not to be deterred, I decided that main point was to put the word away in a real way and that burying was nice, but wrapping would work just as well for my purposes.  And so, out to the dollar store I went.  I got some purple wrapping paper and a shirt box and got to work.

My supplies.  Pretty minimal = happy mama
First, I wrapped the box, top and bottom separately, to make it easier and faster to put the word away without losing the kids' attention.

I promise this looks way neater in person.
Next, I went online and found some pretty awesome and "churchy" fonts, and once I decided on one to use, I printed our a page of card stock with the "A" Word written on it, all pretty and large.  I, of course, decorated it with gold glitter and let it dry.  I mean, it's the "A" Word people.  It deserves all the sparkle I can spare.

Do you think it needed more glitter?
Finally, I gather the kiddies around a table in the living room.  I explained once again how important the "A" Word is and how much we miss it when it's not being used at Mass or at all.  I told them that we were going to wrap it up and place it up high to remind up not to say it at all until Easter.  I also told them that we would open it on Easter Sunday morning, just like the present it is.  We'll probably also end up displaying the glitter-bedecked sign in a place of prominence all through the Easter season.

All snug in it's little box

Complete with a gift tag
So, there you have it.  My city/apartment friendly version of burying the "A" Word.  There is only one down side I've seen so far: the Pirate Princess has now fixated on singing the "A" Word, something she never did before I made such a fuss over NOT saying it.  Oh well, I can't win 'em all and there are far worse words she could be using.  I'll count my blessings while I may.

Let me know if you use this idea in your own homes.  I'd love to hear from you!

Also, don't forget to read (the Infant of) Prague Blog today for my post on St. Chrodegang.  Don't worry!  I didn't know who he was either.


  1. What a neat idea! I had never heard of that tradition.

    Funny story, my daughter was walking around the house singing the "A" word, and I asked her why. She just wanted to get it out as much as she could before Lent started !

  2. I had no idea that was part of the Catholic tradition. How interesting, and what a cute idea!

    You should really see about guest posting at Catholic Icing! Have you contacted her? I think it would be a good fit.