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Bright Monday? Is it a made up holiday like Black Friday or Pastor’s Appreciation Month?

Not really. My hunch is that it’s an oversimplified ragu for Americans trying to grasp all the different ways Christians around the globe mark this day after Easter. By the way, who decides what the real holidays are? The same people who kicked Pluto out of the solar system?

Polish children celebrate Bright Monday with a water fight!

My familiarity with Bright Monday is pretty superficial, perhaps not totally accurate, but fun, nonetheless. Apparently, in the Orthodox tradition this is a day for laughter, silliness, jokes, pranks, and tricks.

Yes, Easter is a time for joy. But the pranks and jokes are also mimicking the cosmic joke, God’s great ruse on Satan. It’s a riff on Christus Victor atonement theory. Jesus was the baited hook that Satan could not resist. What on Friday afternoon looked like a great idea, turned out not to be so good on Sunday morning.

We send an email “Pastors’ Note” to our congregation every Wednesday afternoon. It is intended to be a few minutes of joy, beauty, curiosity, and good news. We try to guard it from becoming just another publicity piece full of churchy announcements. It has inspirational quotes, links to good music and cute videos, a brief reflection, and a prayer.

Up from the gravy, a rose

It also typically has four or five terrible jokes. They’re so terrible I am sure they are the most anticipated part of these Pastors’ Notes. I don’t even want to know how many people ignore everything else, simply to jump to the groaners. 

It’s been reported, so I assume it’s true, that during the pandemic dumb jokes, often labeled “dad jokes,” experienced a renaissance. Maybe we needed simple guffaws. We were too tired for sophistication, too fragile for sarcasm. We needed simple and stupid — and spaghettiOs of humor. 

Apparently, the pandemic is over. I hope your fondness for bad jokes remains. Here are supposed to be about 50 of them — one for each day of Eastertide. Or be a glutton for punishment and read them all today. It will be a bright Monday.

Christ is risen!

I started out feeling so bold, but somewhere I lost my b.

Scientists were finally able to weigh a rainbow. Turned it out to be pretty light.

I ordered some German food from the internet. The sauerkraut has arrived but the wurst is yet to come. 

If you’re looking for a job at a moisturizer factory, you should apply daily!

I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.

6:30 is my favorite time. Hands down.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list. 

If you boil a funny bone, it becomes laughing stock! That’s humerus. 

Is a firefly the opposite of a waterfall?

An old man was walking along when a little frog called to him, saying “Kiss me and I’ll turn into a beautiful princess.” The old man scooped up the frog and put her in his pocket. The frog cried, “Aren’t you going to kiss me?” The old man said, “I think I’d rather have a talking frog.”

She said she recognized me from the Vegetarian Club. But I’d never met herbivore. 

I’m reading a book on anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.

Never buy flowers at a monastery. Only you can prevent florist friars.

My dad was born a conjoined twin. Fortunately, doctors were able to separate them at birth. Now I have an uncle once-removed.

A man walks into a bar with a boot on his head. The Canadian bartender asks, “What’s that about?” The man replies, “Exactly!”

My dog used to chase people on a bike a lot. It got so bad, I had to take his bike away.

I was so bored I memorized the dictionary. I learned next to nothing.

What do you call Santa’s elves? Subordinate Clauses.

Why do people in Athens hate getting up early in the morning? Because Dawn is tough on grease.

Yesterday I spotted an albino Dalmatian. It was the least I could do for him.

Flat-earthers have nothing to fear but sphere itself.

Around the age of 35, men must make an important decision. Either to start reading books on World War II or take up smoking meat.

It is not true that the church is full of hypocrites. There is still room for you.

A photon was going through TSA Security at the airport. The TSA agent asked, “Any luggage today?” “No,” replied the photon, “I’m traveling light!”

Among the greatest inventions ever — the wheel, the printing press, flush toilets, airplanes, the internet — certainly heated seats in cars have to be right up there.

I tried to do my good deed this morning by giving up my seat on the bus for an elderly person. How was I supposed to know that they had never driven a bus before?

A big tub of margarine fell on my toe three weeks ago. It still hurts. I can’t believe it’s not butter. 

A guy was trying to rob a convenience store, but the clerk fought him off with a pricing gun. That robber now has a price on his head. 

What do you call a hippie’s wife? Mississippi 

When I was hiking, I encountered a huge bear and accidentally played dad rather than dead. But hey, at least now there’s a bear who likes to play catch and can ride a bike without training wheels. 

An ancient Greek walks into a tailor’s shop, places his torn pants on the counter and says to the tailor, “Eumenides?”  The tailor replies, “Yes! Euripides?” 

My family told me to put ketchup on our shopping list. Now I can’t read any of it.

My dog kept chewing on electric cords. Finally I had to ground him.

Magician: “I can make anything disappear!”
Tom: holding out his mug — “Can you make my tea disappear?”
Magician waves his hands.
om: “I guess it worked!”

What did the hat say to the tie? You hang around and I’ll go on ahead. 

Me: “Google, what should I do when my leg is bleeding from a raccoon bite?”
Google: “You should elevate it and apply pressure.” 
Me: (lifting the raccoon high above my head) — “Listen here or you’ll be sorry! You had better apologize to me or I will tell your mother!”

People are really excited about Lego-Land reopening. They are lined up for blocks.

I don’t mean to toot my own horn. Sometimes I’m just clumsy with my car key fob.

I just sold my homing pigeons on Ebay. . .for the 17th time!

It’s gardening season. Ten weeks ago I planted myself on the couch and I have grown considerably.

I always wanted to be a monk, but I never got the chants.

English, French, Spanish, and German people were sitting in the back of a theater. A guy on stage asked, “Can you see me?” They answered, “Yes, oui, si, ja!”

How could Lenin not realize that Communism wouldn’t work? There were red flags everywhere!

People say I have a bad sense of direction. I don’t understand where they’re coming from.

I’m obsessed with becoming a monorail driver. You could say I have a one-track mind. 

My spouse bought a world map, some darts, and then said to me, “Throw a dart and wherever it lands, we will go on a wonderful vacation together!” Turns out, we’re spending two weeks behind the refrigerator.

I hear the government is putting chips into everyone. I hope I get Doritos. 

Parent: You, my beautiful child, I want you to have everything, a life full of possibilities.
Child: Can I have an ice-cream?
Parent: No!

What did Mr. Peanut say as he left home? “I’ll be back in a jif!”

I don’t like Russian nesting dolls. They’re so full of themselves.

Dear Math, please stop asking us to find your X. She’s obviously not coming back and you need to move on. 

People are shocked to learn that I have a police record. I can’t help it. “Message in a Bottle” was a good song and my turntable still works.

What do you call an Irishman wearing a bulletproof vest? Rick O’Shea

Which of these is the hardest for you to say?
I love you
I was wrong
I need help
Worcestershire sauce

Why are there no dinosaurs in the Easter story?
They were already egg-stinct.


Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell

Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell is a recently retired minister of the Reformed Church in America. He has been the convener of the Reformed Journal’s daily blog since its inception in 2011. He and his wife, Sophie, reside in Des Moines, Iowa.


  • Don Tamminga says:


  • Jeff Carpenter says:

    Thanks, Steve, for the article—and the list of jokes!
    Both the concept of Bright Monday and the groaner jokes converged with me today bringing up memories of a former colleague, one of the math tutors I managed at my Chicago-area community college. Anthony was Greek by heritage, born in Alexandria, Egypt and immigrated to the US in the early 1960s. He taught math for a long career, then in retirement served as a tutor. He would always show up in my office on our Easter Monday, with a woven palm cross brought especially to me, fresh from Greek Orthodox Palm Sunday the previous day. I still have icon- “trading cards” from him also. Besides the annual raised index-finger pronouncement of when Orthodox Easter resides, he was also always ready year-round with a joke, many of which made your list (!). “I have a joke!” he’d announce, coming in the door; then approach me slightly hunched over, looking side to side as if for eavesdroppers on a secret, then tell his joke, often walking abruptly away after delivering the punchline, then looking back over his shoulder to make sure I got it. His delivery style was a combination of Henny Youngman and Rodney Dangerfield, all in a Greek accent.
    Incredibly though, Anthony had not heard the Greek-tailor joke (“Euripides? Eumenides?”) He had to sit down in a chair, laughing so hard after I told him.

  • Fred Mueller says:

    A neutron walks into a bar. The bartender asks, “What can I get you?” “A draft,” replies the neutron.

    When the bartender brings the drink, the neutron reaches for his wallet but the bartender puts up his hand stop him, shakes his head saying, “No.”

    “For you, no charge.”

  • Marilyn Norman says:

    I couldn’t manage them all in one day, so am saving some for tomorrow. Thanks for the laughter. Marilyn

  • Joel Slenk says:

    What do you call it when batman doesn’t go to church?

    A Christian Bale

  • Tony Vis says:


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