25 March 2008

The floating holiday

This year Easter has thrown everyone: schools, first-quarter reporting for business, end of financial year. Given the ubiquitous 2 month lead up to any public festival of consumption, it meant Valentine's Day build-up started at New Year, and we had barely finished the Christmas Pudding before pancake day had rolled around. It has stretched the traditional business lull around Easter to about three weeks, as it fell upon just about the earliest possible date it can.

I'm prepared to guess that a smaller proportion of the population knows how the date of Easter is calculated than attempts a DIY project over the four day break. For the record it is, according to the English book of Common Prayer, "the first Sunday after the full moon which happens upon, or next after the 21st day of March; and if the full moon happens upon a Sunday, Easter Day is the Sunday after."

Can you imagine if Christmas was calculated in the same way? Which begs the question: why do we not decide on a fixed date in April? If we can cope with a fixed date for the Messiah's birth, I'm sure we can struggle through when it comes to mark his crucifixion. It would make it a great deal easier for the rest of the real world that has to plan holidays, work cover and Q1 revenue reports.

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