Saturday, 16 April 2011

Fixing the date of Easter ...

At work, we've just put out a press release to mark the fact that this year churches in both east and west are celebrating Easter on the same day - the next time won't be until 1917 and after that, 2025. Today the Guardian had an editorial proposing a fixed date for Easter noting that in 1928 the British government passed a law fixing the date of Easter as the Sunday following the first Saturday in April, though the law has never been implemented, pending discussions with the churches. This proposal made me smile, and even prompted me to post a comment:

Maybe it would help the churches to just hand over the date of Easter to secular authorities - but which secular authorities? The Russians, the Greeks, the Indians, the Brazilians, the Kenyans? There is a world out there beyond Britain which might also appreciate a say. Easter is a festival in those places too - and its date is not something even the different churches have yet managed to come to agreement on over the centuries.

I live on the border between (nominally) Protestant Geneva and (nominally) Catholic France. France, where there is separation of Church and state, has a huge number of religious holidays, but not Good Friday. On that day the French restaurants in the small town in France where I live are filled with Swiss people eating lunch - they have a public holiday. Maybe these vestiges of religious holidays are all that religion can offer today - a little bit of time out from over-work and the drive to fulfill the business plan and make money. Whether you believe or not enjoy the time away from work, be it God-given or State given, holiday is a good thing.


Donal Leader said...

Greetings from Dublin for Easter! I came across your blog while researching a poem by Julia Esquivel. Wonderful blog and love this post about the Easter date.

I probably ran into you when I worked with FI and ERI in Geneva (regards to Nadia Gianoli).

Glad of the memory of Ferney-Voltaire although I lived on the 'other side' in Gaillard!

Jane said...

Thanks so much for dropping by Donal!

janetlees said...

The article mademe smile too - becasue they said that fixing the date of Easter this year would give us 'a more sensible working week before the royal wedding' - as usual the Holy Spirit did not really make this a hot priority when working out the liturgical calendar this year!! Maybe we could do a mug with that on.