Today is Easter, so Happy Easter to all those who celebrate. I like candy and dying eggs, so that’s what I celebrate about this holiday (plus, bunnies are super cute). But I am not a Christian, so the religious connotations of the day do not matter to me.
In fact, the religious aspect of Easter have confused me for a number of years. Not the honoring and celebration of Christ’s resurrection. I totally get that, and I respect my Christian brothers and sisters in their observance. And I don’t want to anger any Jukebox listeners who may be of that particular persuasion, but there’s something just the tiniest bit. . . off about how Easter is celebrated.
Okay, stick with me for a second here. A Thing happens on a particular date. If that Thing is of some kind of historical or cultural consequence, that Thing gets enshrined in a holiday of some sort. Generally, that holiday falls on the same date as the Thing That Happened, or as near to it as everyone can agree on. If said holiday is not in commemoration of a particular event or birth but in honor of a special group, it usually has a rule about when it is observed (i.e., a particular Sunday in a particular month). Still with me? Awesome. A good example of a holiday for a Thing That Happened is the Fourth of July, which celebrates our declaration of independence from England (roughly coinciding with the publication of the document). A good example of a holiday honoring a group would be Mother’s Day, which is held on the second Sunday of May every year (it’s the 8th this year; don’t forget your mom). The one exception to both of these rules seems to be Easter.
See, every year Easter is on a different date, as are the holy days preceding it beginning with Ash Wednesday. Now since this holiday is generally considered to honor a particular Thing That Happened, you would think it would occur on the same day every year. It would also seem to follow that the holy days preceding Easter would also always occur on the same dates as well. But each year, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon of the northern hemisphere’s Spring (thanks, Google!). The day of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection did not change. (While we can’t be 100% certain which days those things happened thanks to numerous calendar changes over the centuries, we could probably find a generally agreed upon date if we were pressed. Kind of like we did for Christ’s birth.) So why does the date of Easter range from the end of March to the end of April, generally speaking? Why does what is generally agreed to be one of the absolute holiest days on the Christian calendar move around with the changes of the moon like some kind of Pagan holiday?
Think about it.