I got up this morning and thought it -might- be Easter Sunday… They move it around so much that I'm never exactly sure when the Easter Bunny will make his annual visit.
See, I like Easter… Not because of any resurrections or rabbits laying eggs, though either one would be cool to see. No, I look forward to Easter because of Easter Candy…
(makes happy little sounds much like a junky eyeing a crack rock)
Easter candy… I'm an addict thanks to my parents and their insistence on giving my sister and I these mammoth Easter baskets every year. Once the baskets were in our hot little hands the horse trading would begin…
“I'll trade you six pixie sticks for two of those jawbreakers.” “Make it six pixie sticks and those jolly ranchers and you have a deal.”
For me the subject of my addiction centers around Reese's peanut-butter and chocolate eggs.
Anyways, back to the meat, or gooey peanut-butter center, of this post…
Do you know why Easter moves around so much? I think I touched on this in a post around Yule but I'll do it here, again, in light of the “Day of the Jelly Beans”…
The current Gregorian ecclesiastical rules that determine the date of Easter trace back to 325 CE at the First Council of Nicaea convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine. At that time the Roman world used the Julian Calendar (put in place by Julius Caesar).
In 1582 Gregory XIII (Pope of the Roman Catholic Church) completed a reconstruction of the Julian calendar and produced new Easter tables. One major difference between the Julian and Gregorian Calendar is the “leap year rule”. Universal adoption of this Gregorian calendar occurred slowly. By the 1700's, though, most of western Europe had adopted the Gregorian Calendar. The Eastern Christian churches still determine the Easter dates using the older Julian Calendar method.
The usual statement, that Easter Day is the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs next after the vernal equinox, is not a precise statement of the actual ecclesiastical rules. The full moon involved is not the astronomical Full Moon but an ecclesiastical moon (determined from tables) that keeps, more or less, in step with the astronomical Moon.
The ecclesiastical rules are:
Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or after the day of the vernal equinox; this particular ecclesiastical full moon is the 14th day of a tabular lunation (new moon); and the vernal equinox is fixed as March 21.
This means that Easter can never occur before March 22 or later than April 25. The Gregorian dates for the ecclesiastical full moon come from the Gregorian tables. Therefore, the civil date of Easter depends upon which tables – Gregorian or pre-Gregorian – are used. The western (Roman Catholic and Protestent) Christian churches use the Gregorian tables; many eastern (Orthodox) Christian churches use the older tables based on the Julian Calendar.
And all of this is in place because another group of people also had a big holy-day in this period… Those whacky Pagans.
See, they worshipped Eostara during the vernal equinox and also did their Pagan thing during any full moon they could find. So the church, not wanting to be associated with these Pagan “goings on”, have all those rules as to when Easter is: The Sunday after the full moon after the vernal equinox…
And with that I think I'm going to go and see if I can track down a few Reese's eggs. 🙂