The Easter Christmas Paradox
When days are reliable and unreliable, we need a holiday to tolerate the confusion. There is a weekend holiday that is like no other on a calendar, a calendar that many local banks will give out for free. In the malls in December, there are many kiosks that display theme like calendars to remind you that the current year will end soon. Since the Palm Pilot didn’t really catch on, it is time to replace that paper calendar, secured by a bent nail in your kitchen.
Now the themes of these calendars in the kiosks, tend to represent current trends. Justin Beiber and Spice Girl calendars are usually in the back row, to allow Drake and Game of Thrones calendars their well deserved prime location. Cat calendars fight with dog calendars as pet lovers fight like cats and dogs to get their perfect cute display for the coming year Many of the older generation need this cardboard like tactile reminder of whether April has 30 or 31 days.
Dealing with change will threaten our sense of stability, and the rapidity of change in a technology-addicted world, is challenging for even the most flexible software designers. A lot of words that start with the letter “D, help us with our constant transformation. Words like Diverse, Different, Dichotomy, Divergent and Dissimilar and Diametrically opposed are the starting point for contrasting conversations of change.
The two biggest holidays of the Christian religion are both reliable and unreliable celebrations. Whether you are Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Evangelical, Catholic, a Jehovah Witness or you just started your own religion for the tax break, you know that Christmas and Easter are going to be foundational dates at your place of worship. Both will test your ability to adapt.
Christmas day is like a lottery, as it can occur any day of the week, and that inconvenience messes up your plans for Bingo night. Once in a while December 25th occurs on Sunday and as a child, I would celebrate that year, as the family was only dragged to church once that week.
The many who work in retail, do not celebrate that holiday’s break, as it is brief. On December 24th, they serve the demoralized males who enter the store at 3:00 pm carefully searching for that perfect gift for their wife. Since fondue sets and ironing boards are the only items left, the male inquires about gift cards nicely wrapped to keep the romance alive at home. The smiling staff, slowly escort the males to the partially closed doors of the store, as they remind the customers that they close early on Christmas Eve. When all the locks are finally secured, the employees fill the shelves with every item not sold that year, and prepare for the 50% off Boxing Day stampede that will happen shortly.
Christmas is not the holiday retailers enjoy, as a twenty-four hour break from work, is not a celebration. But Easter is the weekend they circle on their Kitten themed calendar, because that is the ultimate retail break. Easter never occurs on any other day except Sunday. That is the essence of reliability. Well that reliability lasts for about a second, as unlike good old December 25th, Easter can happen on any Sunday in March or April. There is quite a gypsy-like logic to this unreliability:
“In 325CE the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox.(*) From that point forward, the Easter date depended on the ecclesiastical approximation of March 21 for the vernal equinox.
Easter is delayed by 1 week if the full moon is on Sunday, which decreases the chances of it falling on the same day as the Jewish Passover. The council’s ruling is contrary to the Quartodecimans, a group of Christians who celebrated Easter on the day of the full moon, 14 days into the month.”
It gets more complicated:
“Not all Christian churches observe Easter according to the Gregorian calendar. Some churches still observe Easter under the Julian calendar.
The Gregorian calendar was created because the Julian calendar was slightly too long. With the Julian calendar, the equinox date moved towards the earlier dates of March and further away from the Easter. Therefore, the introduction of the Gregorian calendar allowed for a realignment with the equinox”
This lunar based tradition leads to a holiday that keeps those calendar makers up late at nights, as they look up in the sky at a crescent moon and calculate full moons for the next 50 years.
But those retail employees are less interested in the calendar people’s dilemma, (another D word) but are very interested in the fact that Good Friday and Easter Sunday are holidays that occur on the same weekend. Working on Saturday seems like a fair compromise knowing the days before and after that day are holidays. If you work for government agencies like the postal service, you get Easter Monday off, but then on Tuesday you are reminded that you work at the post office… everything has a price.
For those very organized planners, who make lists, and know every move they will make for the next decade, allow me to help you with your upcoming “To Do” lists.
|2014||Sunday||April 20, 2014|
|2015||Sunday||April 5, 2015|
|2016||Sunday||March 27, 2016|
|2017||Sunday||April 16, 2017|
|2018||Sunday||April 1, 2018|
|2019||Sunday||April 21, 2019|
|2020||Sunday||April 12, 2020|
|2021||Sunday||April 4, 2021|
|2022||Sunday||April 17, 2022|
|2023||Sunday||April 9, 2023|
|2024||Sunday||March 31, 2024|
|2025||Sunday||April 20, 2025|
|2026||Sunday||April 5, 2026|
|2027||Sunday||March 28, 2027|
Looking back and looking forward can really hurt your neck. But you see that your plan for buying Easter eggs is going to test a lot of those D words, as you will be unable to catch a nice predictable rhythm of chocolate bunny purchasing.
Christmas planning is just as disruptive. 2022 will be your favourite upcoming Christmas, as your church commitments will be cut in half that week.
|2015||Friday, December 25|
|2016||Sunday, December 25|
|2017||Monday, December 25|
|2018||Tuesday, December 25|
|2019||Wednesday, December 25|
|2020||Friday, December 25|
|2021||Saturday, December 25|
|2022||Sunday, December 25|
|2023||Monday, December 25|
|2024||Wednesday, December 25|
|2025||Thursday, December 25|
Holidays are unreliable. Cable technicians are unreliable. Cell phone data usage bills are unreliable. Relying on the kindness of strangers is not as reliable as Tennessee Williams predicted.
I will end this very unreliable piece on the reliability of things, with an observation. Observations too, can be less than reliable, particularly when the observer has lost his glasses. While squinting let me wish all had a happy holiday weekend. The truth is, in my experience the date and time of a holiday is not only unreliable but irrelevant. If you were able to spend time at a home with people you care about you, that date was only the excuse to get together. Cherish those times. As I get older the pages on my Charlie’s Angels calendar are flipping by faster than I want them to. Memories can be unreliable, but sometimes that is all that we have.
“ Home is not a place. Home is security, predictability, reliability, dependability, safety, permanence combined together. ”
― Csaba Gabor-B.
Cue the blong: It’s Going to be All Right