And for the first time ever, I seem to be looking at Easter as just another long weekend.
Many people I’ve encountered in my life have no idea why Easter doesn’t have a fixed location in the year. But since they’ve grown up with it, they don’t question it.
Easter has an oddity amongst other Christian celebrations, but because Jesus was crucified during the Jewish Passover, then the date of the Easter celebrations depend on when the Passover occurs. This is set according to the Jewish calendar, and one of the peculiarities of that is that the Jewish calendar a solar/lunar calendar, unlike the Western Gregorian calendar, which is a solar calendar. In practice, this means Easter is generally the weekend after the first full moon after the March equinox.
So far so good: it’s a Christian celebration whose date is based on the date of a Jewish celebration. But the name in the English-speaking world is something else again. Historians aren’t fully sure, but it looks like the word “easter” is probably a modified version of either “ostara” or “eostre“, which is a Pagan festival, based around the March equinox. And I’ve become really aware of Pagan festivals in recent weeks.
The possibility of a pantheon of real gods in modern times is something that sounds incredulous and impossible to most people today – whether they’re Christian or totally atheist. Yet millions of Pagans and Wiccans believe this happens.
My own journey of beliefs is heading down that road. And one of the casualties is Easter.