Let’s talk about April Fool’s Day. There are multiple theories as to why the first day of April is set aside for pranks, practical jokes, and fake products that we wish Amazon would actually sell. Nobody knows exactly which one is true, but the most popular seems to be that – under the Julian calendar – the New Year celebrations began on March 25 and went until April 1. When France adopted the Gregorian calendar and the New Year was placed on January 1, smaller villages that didn’t keep as up to date on the larger world didn’t notice the change and still celebrated in late March. Thus, to the “civilized” Parisians, April 1 was a day to note the foolish behaviors of the country bumpkins who thought it was the new year.
Where am I going with this? Well, there are two calendars in the Church. While we in the West are celebrating Easter on April 4, Eastern Orthodoxy will be celebrating it on May 2. Am I saying one of these groups is full of fools that should become the butt of the joke? No, of course not. I’m merely pointing out the obvious that we don’t necessarily know the exact date that the anniversary of the Resurrection should be. We calculate an approximate date based on Passover, which moves around because Judaism uses a lunar calendar of 28-day months which obviously doesn’t perfectly correlate with our 30/31-day months, but there is a certain level of arbitrariness in when we celebrate it – and that’s ok. The calendar day itself is not what holds power; every day belongs to God anyway.
It is good and right to have an organized Church calendar so that we can be on the same page and observe the same festivals together, and it is good to remember and celebrate the things God has done for us – redeemed us and given us the promise of eternal life through the resurrection of Christ. So whether you rejoice at the empty tomb on April 4, May 2, or any other Sunday of the year (as every Sunday really is an Easter Sunday), you’re in the right to do so.
So Happy Easter to you now and every week. Amen.