Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Wasn't it a bit late in the year for Easter?

I couldn't stop myself from telling a friend on Facebook about the reason why bunnies are prevalent around Easter.  While I was explaining the March hare symbology I realised something.  Easter wasn't all that close to March this year, in fact, it's almost May now.  What happened?

I had to do some digging, because for some reason I've never looked into it myself.  I already knew that Easter is a moveable holiday but I hadn't realised that it was calculated by the seasons and the full moon.  I'm beginning to like it more and more for reasons other than the obvious chocoholic coma that accompanies it.

The First Council of Nicaea was convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325AD in an attempt to settle some controversies within Christendom.  The main raised by Arianism over the nature of the Trinity but more minor squabbles like the timing of Easter.

It was decided that the date of Easter would fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon (Paschal Full Moon) after the Northern hemisphere's Vernal Equinox.  This can be as early as the 22nd of March or as late as the 25th of April.  Although the last time it was as late as the 25th was way back in 1943.  (There is some difference between the Western parts of the church and the Eastern Orthodox ones where some are still using the Julian calendar, so their dates can be different.  However, here in Australia, as in New Zealand, the Gregorian calendar is in use - I had fun playing with the calendar calculations... yes, geek). 

While the calculations may sound a little Pagan slanted, it should be remembered that the moon's phases were openly used for an indicator of time not just by Pagans.  The timing of the Vernal Equinox in this calculation doesn't follow the seasonal timing but rather is the ecclesiastical date set by the Church to be March 21st. 

However, there are still some Christians who either refuse to celebrate Easter because of the ties to Paganism (Ostara and the obvious bunny/egg motifs) or choose to call it Resurrection Day or Resurrection Sunday, because of the Pagan etymological nature of the word Easter. 

Now I know that many of you probably already knew this, and are quite possibly dumbfounded that it took me so long to cotton on to the settlement of the date.  However, we learn something new everyday, and regardless of what it's called and when it is, I still enjoy cracking into the ears of a nom nommy chocolate bunny.

After all, if Easter isn't a plausible excuse to indulge in chocolate, when is?

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Samhain 2011 - 2012 Calendar is on its way

As Debbie puts the final touches on our 2011-2012 Samhain Calendar I thought I'd take the opportunity to blog about it.   This is our fifth Pagan calendar and each year it seems to get just a little bit easier.  Debbie is such a pro at formatting the calendar now.  What sometimes takes the longest is deciding the theme for each calendar.  Once we've sorted that then it's onto the artwork.   What do we want our artwork to be of or look like?  Is it something we need to set up a lot of costumes and models for as well as hooking up a photographer?

This time we decided to focus on the moon so we enlisted the help of our very talented friend Steve Buller who spent a few months taking photos of the moon for us.  Thanks Steve :)

After the decision on artwork is done Debbie and I take different roles.  She has the technical and often times (especially when I make last minute requests) finicky job of formatting the calendar and doing all the astrology calculations.  All the wonderful work that makes the calendar actually become a calendar is at her hand.  In addition, she adds the festival days and researches what holidays/festivals/feast days fall when from as many different paths as she can find.

My job is to write the content for the calendar.  The blurbs that are found under the photos, the tiny tidbits of information that can be found scattered throughout, like the monthly moon myths we have, are my domain.  To be honest, I think I got the easy job.  And I'm not giving it up lol.

The calendar is usually done much earlier than this, but due to unfortunate circumstances, in the form of a rumbling earth, we're a little behind schedule, but that can't be helped.

Once I've finished here I'll update the website to show the upcoming release of the calendar and to enable pre-orders.  

Looking at the calendar file from Debbie while I was helping to proof it, I realised that there are a large number of festivals and feast days that I have no knowledge of.  So it has inspired me to spend this coming year looking into each of the festival and feast days that are featured and blogging about them.  This will get interesting, as I've noticed that some days are quite busy lol.