Friday, April 22, 2011


Why is Easter coming so exceptionally late this year? (Last year Easter was on April 4th, this year it’s the 24th. In 2012, it will be April 8th; in 2013, March 31st; and in 2014, it will go back to April 20th.) Jason DeRusha of WCCO-TV provided an explanation. "The simple answer about when Easter happens is that it’s always the Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox.... The process dates to the fourth century, when people around the world were celebrating the rebirth of Christ on different dates. The Council of Nicea wanted to get everyone in line. They set an official ecclesiastical equinox on March 21. Then they looked for the first full moon. But the full moon can fall on two different dates, depending on where you live. So in 1583, Christoph Clavius came up with a calculation to standardize the Paschal Full moon. Easter falls on the next Sunday." But what is even more fascinating is the way religions reflect archetypal yearnings that follow a seasonal, diurnal or biological cycle. Passover, the date of which is always 15 days after Rosh Chodesh (the full moon) in the month of Nissan, which also came later than usual this year on the Gregorian calendar, celebrates freedom from bondage, while Easter represents resurrection (Davinci’s "Last Supper" may actually depict a seder). Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and Confucianism all partake of festivities that reflect the cycles of birth and death. In the winter months, when the earth is further from the sun, gestation takes place, but later, when the cycle changes, the days grow longer and we begin to bask in the warmth of the sun’s radiation, there is rebirth. Like the confused and weary lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we are given a chance to live again.

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