My column from the March 2018 edition of Hawkesbury Parish News
“But Easter’s so early this year!”
With Easter Sunday falling on 1st April this year, the schools will barely have time to squeeze in the spring term before the bank holidays begin. My daughter’s school breaks up on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday.
But it could be worse: it’s possible for Easter Sunday to fall as early as 22nd March. No cause for immediate alarm though, as that’s not due to happen till 2285.
Next year, we will have the opposite problem: Easter will be three weeks later, on April 21st. (Latest Easter possible is 25th April, as will happen in 2038.)
At least a later Easter means that Valentine’s Day won’t coincide with Ash Wednesday, as it did this year, causing a dilemma for anyone who’d given up chocolate for Lent. (What do you mean, your Valentine never brings you chocolates?)
Why do Easter dates vary so much?
They are set according to the phases of the moon. Easter Day is deemed to be the first Sunday after the first full moon to follow the vernal equinox. (No, I don’t know why, either.)
When’s the vernal equinox? Easy – 21st March, my parents’ wedding anniversary (impressively, their 65th this year, in case you’re wondering). Or so I thought, until I googled “vernal equinox” and discovered it is just as likely to fall on 19th or 20th March, depending on when the sun crosses the celestial equator, a notional line running from south to north above the equator.
In all of this mayhem, you’ll be pleased to know there is still one absolute certainty: that wherever Easter falls on the calendar, there will always be Easter eggs in the shops from Valentine’s Day onwards – and often even earlier. But not to worry: in my opinion, there’s no such thing as too much chocolate.
Happy Easter, folks!
The timing isn’t all bad news, though – it’s just right to get me in the mood for starting to write my fifth novel in the Sophie Sayers Village Mystery series, Springtime for Murder, which kicks off with someone thinking they’ve found the Easter bunny dead in an open grave.
Don’t worry, though, all is not what it seems… he’ll still be delivering chocolate this Easter!
In the meantime, you can catch up with the first books in the series here.