Easter Sunday

On which date will Easter Sunday fall this year?

We can be absolutely certain that Christmas Day will fall on December 25 and New Years Day on January 1; but confusion sets in when we want to know when the Easter break occurs.

Is it in March? Is it April this year? Is it early or late? The reason for this is that the calculations for determining Easter were set long ago in the seventh century.

The Synod of 673AD

It is recorded by the Venerable Bede that a meeting of the five bishops of the Kingdoms of England was called by Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury.

The meeting was held in Hertford. Amongst ten canons governing the duties of clerics, marriage and divorce the church leaders issued instructions for deciding upon the date for celebrating Easter Sunday.

It was agreed that Easter was to be held on the first Sunday following the first full moon after March 21st.

Which is why Easter always falls on a different date each year; sometimes in late March, sometimes in mid-April.

The first Synod in 673 AD was the first time that the representatives of the various churches had deliberated and acted as one body. It laid the foundation for a united church and for ending the disputes between the old Celtic traditions introduced by missionaries from Ireland and the form of Christianity such as introduced by St Augustine and Rome.

commemorative stone
Stone commemorating the Synod of 573AD

The stone reads:

Near this spot was held the first General Synod of the English Church on 24 September 673 AD under the presidency of Theodore, Seventh Archbishop of Canterbury and first Primate of All England. There was present Bisi, Bishop of East Anglia, Putta, Bishop of Rochester, Eleutherius, Bishop of Wessex, Winfred, Bishop of Mercia, Wilfred, Bishop of Northumbria.

It is not thought that the commemorative stone is on the exact spot that the Synod was held but it is now generally agreed that is was certainly in the area on which Hertford Castle now stands.

Bank Holidays

At one time the Bank of England was closed on no less than 40 Saints Days and anniversaries.

These were steadfastly pruned throughout the nineteenth century. However we have to thank Maidstone MP Sir John Lubbock for introducing the Bank Holiday Act in 1871. It firmly proclaimed December 26 (if a weekday), Easter Monday and Whit Monday to be officially called Bank Holidays.

At least now when this Easter Holiday comes round, you will understand why it is in late April and not in wet and windy March.