Its a discussion that comes up every year, "Easter trading".
And there are a few token prosecutions every year for those who flout the regulations. Meaning of course there are government officials out there working on a holiday to catch out the violaters
It is all very silly really.
The big stores are closed for Christmas and have a bonanza day the following day.
I bet they all do fairly well out of today as well. In fact the four days of the Easter holiday are probably amongst the more profitable of the year for most retailers, despite their doors being shut for two of them.
So whats the real issue?
I think it is this, it is almost impossible to obliterate the religious overtones surrounding Easter.
Christmas was secularized many moons ago. It is easy to pretend, if you so wish, that Christmas day, has nothing to do with the Church, even though it was enshrined in law as a holiday because our forebears were Christian, nominally anyway.
Good Friday and Easter Sunday, received the same deference in legislation for the very same reason. In fact they are the two holiest days in the Christian calendar.
But there is a problem here for the secularizers, Easter is a movable feast (1). The actual date that Easter falls in any year was defined by the Church at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD (or 325 CE for those readers who insist on the secularist rendering of dates).
The prescription for finding the date for Easter in any year, given at Nicea, was that Easter Sunday falls on the Sunday on or after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The Vernal equinox being defined as falling the 21st of March and that it had to follow the Jewish feast of Passover.
The Bishops at Nicea used a solar calendar, the Julian Calendar. However the Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ is tied to the Jewish Passover (which calculated according to the Jewish Lunar Calendar). And we all know the Resurrection of Christ occurred after the Passover, hence the formula.
So the complexity of calculating when Easter falls results from tying a lunar calendar to a solar calendar and imposing that upon a 7 day week.
I mentioned in my previous post that the Eastern church will not be celebrating Easter for another five weeks. The reason for the diversion from the Western calculation is two fold.
The first one is that it still uses the Julian Calendar date for the 21st of March in its calculation for the vernal equinox. Astronomically the vernal equinox has moved from this date as reckoned by the Julian calendar, which led the Western Church, under Pope Gregory to reform the calendar in the 16th century. A reform which keeps the vernal equinox more or else aligned to the 21st of March.
The second reason is that under the formula given by the Bishops at Nicea Easter could not be celebrated before Passover. And Passover this year starts on the 20th of April.
But there is no getting around it, Easter is a religious holiday the date on which it falls defined by the Church and it does not follow the Gregorian calendar by which we all regulate our daily lives.
I am happy to celebrate Easter according to the prescription laid down by the bishops at Nicea, even though for the majority of the country Easter has come and gone.
And I don't really care if some small retailer opens his doors on Good Friday, as recognized by our civil authorities.
What does matter is that we do not allow our Christian heritage to be airbrushed away.
And that is the real agenda of those who push for Easter trading.
Post inspired by: Freedom to shop
(1) The British Parliament passed an act in 1928 that fixed Easter as the Sunday following the second Saturday of April.
A clause in this act however laid down provisions before it could come into force, one of which being consultation with relevant Church authorities.
And nobody has got around to doing that yet.