Easter is, of course, related to the Jewish Passover, and Passover is calculated from the Lunar calendar and jumps about around the months of March and April. As if that were not enough, Easter Day has to fall on a Sunday. In the sixteenth century, Christian churches in different parts of Europe were celebrating Easter on different days due to disputes as to how exactly to compute the date. The calendar reform of 1582 sorted that out, but the date (and month) is subject to change every year.
And this starts me thinking about the whole business of anniversaries. What does it mean that a birthday or other anniversary occurs on the same day each year? Since the Earth orbits the sun in 365 1/4 days – approximately – after 365 days, the planet is still one quarter of a day away from the place in the orbit where it was the previous year … A true anniversary can only happen once every four years, so those born on the 29th February are uniquely placed; for each of their birthdays, the Earth really is in almost the same position – with reference to the cosmos – as it was on their last birthday.
So where does all of this leave Tesco? Christians were annoyed with their advert (‘Good Friday just got better’) but I cannot find it within me to get too upset. After all, what does the average person in this country associate with Easter? Christ’s crucifixion? His resurrection? Er no, two extra days off work and the opportunity to scoff a lot of chocolate. The Christian faiths really ought to concentrate their efforts on filling their churches, and come up with a viable philosophy for the 21st century to justify their existence.