The idea of setting aside one Sunday has a long and rich history in many Christian traditions.
G.K. Chesterton once wrote:
“Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
Never forget that the devil fell by force of gravity.
He who has the faith has the fun
Laughter Sunday (also known as Holy Humour Sunday, Hilarity Sunday, God’s Laughter Sunday, Bright Sunday or Holy Fools Sunday) has its roots in a number of different Christian traditions.
Churches in 15th century Bavaria used to celebrate the Sunday after Easter as Risus Paschalis (‘God’s Joke,’ or ‘the Easter laugh’). Priests would deliberately include amusing stories and jokes in their sermons in an attempt to make the faithful laugh. After the service, people would gather together to play practical jokes on one another and tell funny stories. It was their way of celebrating the resurrection of Christ – the supreme joke God played on Satan by raising Jesus from the dead.
The observance of Risus Paschalis was officially outlawed by Pope Clement X in the 17th century. Perhaps people were having too much fun.
In the Orthodox tradition, people would gather on Easter Monday to tell jokes and funny stories, and to dance and eat together.
Other traditions celebrate Laetare Sunday (also known as ‘Mothering Sunday’) on the fourth Sunday in Lent. “Laetare” simply means ‘rejoice,’ and comes from the opening collect for that day: ‘Rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow.' On this Sunday, the usual Lenten purple vestments and altar cloths are replaced by rose-coloured ones instead. Flowers (not normally present during Lent) are also brought into the sanctuary.
Some resource relating to Holy Humour Sunday include:
Article: God has given me cause to laugh by Paul Thigpen
Sermons and sermon material for Holy Humour Sunday
Background and other information relating to Holy Humour Sunday
Worship resources from Re:Think
Richard Fairchild resources