Our Young Saints “buried” their Alleluias in Godly Play on Sunday, Feb. 7, as a visual reminder that the penitential season of Lent is upon us. This last Sunday before Lent is a special time for our children as they draw, color and decorate artwork bearing the phrase “Alleluia,” which is traditionally omitted from the Liturgy during Lent. Their “Alleluias” are then sealed in plastic and “buried” in potting soil, where they await Easter morning. They are then “resurrected” and turned into paper banners to wave in celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord.
The tradition of burying Alleluias dates back to medieval times when priests would process out to the church cemetery with the Alleluia banner on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday and have a “burial” ceremony. The custom of intentionally omitting Alleluia from the liturgy during the season of Lent is a kind of verbal “fast," which has the effect of creating a sense of anticipation and even greater joy when the familiar word of praise returns at Easter.