This has got to be one of the oddest but most welcome holidays.
Odd? It doesn’t have a set date. It’s something to do with phases of the moon, I believe. Who works it out? Every year, calendars tell us when Easter is. Who tells the calendar manufacturers? They could print all the diaries and Western calendars in the world by just working out the leap years and setting the length of February – making sure they remember the old “February has 28 days clear… etc saying” to work out how long the months are. They can easily set out the dates of Christmas and New Year and May Day. But when it comes to Easter and Whit and Pancake Tuesday and all those other days (sorry, Days) that depend on Easter – who tells them?
Also odd, because if it’s supposed to be the date of the crucifixion, then why not just set one, as has been done with Christmas? The obvious argument is that it’s the old spring festival and reflects the progress of the northern hemisphere’s yearly cycle. Which is obviously true and fair enough. But why doesn’t this apply to Christmas? It’s always a couple of days after the Winter equinox.
Welcome? Good Friday is the only bank holiday that’s on a Friday, which makes it seem particularly well-named as Good. All other bank holidays allow you to miss a work Monday, but there isn’t that much you can do on a Sunday that requires an extra lie-in on Monday. Bank holiday Mondays turn Tuesdays (so-so) into alternate Mondays (bad). Good Friday turns a Thursday (so-so) into a Friday (good) AND gives you an extra Saturday (excellent). And even gives you an extra Bank Holiday in the next week.
Even better, Easter comes at a time when you have to be clinically depressed not to feel some optimism relating to the next few months of warmer longer days, no need to wear overcoats and boots and tights (this is only an advantage if you’re a woman, normally). This year it was perfectly timed to match the first decent weather seen all year in the North of England.
More good things – even if you have 30 kids, nephews, nieces, friends’ kids, grandhildren and great-grandchildren to buy presents for, you can get them all an Easter egg and have change out of Â£40. Try doing that at Christmas.
(Buy them Cadbury’s Creme Egg multipacks and you’ll have change out of a tenner, but you have to be on the dole or a pensioner to get away with that, really. Even better, you can get those candy-coated little chocolate eggs that are speckled to look like real birds’ eggs. However giving one of those would probably be worse than just not giving anything. Ideally, you have to put a few in tissue paper in a fake bird’s nest made out of Flakes. )
And you don’t have to go round a million shops choosing things. If it’s chocolate and it’s even remotely oval* – it will do. They’ll not notice any difference after the first one or two anyway, and it’s ten to one they’ll vomit them all up within 3 hours of waking anyway.
Altogether, it’s hard to find anything bad to say about Easter as a holiday season. As a religious festival, it’s hard to say anything that won’t offend somebody in some way, so I won’t.
… Or not much anyway. This is a bit related to its religious side. The music is rubbish. Christmas has fantastic carols. Easter doesn’t have much in the way of songs. “There is a green hill far away” is about it. This has miraculous powers to bring tears to the eyes of any child who’s ever had to sing it in Assembly. However, set it against the full set of carols and Christmas wins hands down over Easter. But that’s probably the only thing its scoresheet is down on.
So, Happy Easter
* A Terry’s chocolate orange will do at a pinch. In fact, a box of chocolates is OK as well, unless it only has square ones, in which case it’s all nougat or toffees and NO ONE will thank you for it.