Happy Easter and I’m not fooling! What do these two holidays have in common: They both are linked to calendar dates. The date of Easter in the Western Church is determined differently than in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Some years they are both celebrated on the same Sunday and in other years like 2013 when the Western Church celebrated it on March 31 while the Western Church celebration wasn’t until May 5 they can be months apart.
How are the Easter dates determined? The Counsel of Nicaea established that Easter is the Sunday following the paschal full moon that is the full moon that falls on or after the vernal equinox a.k.a. the first day of spring. The Western Church sets the calendar date by the Gregorian calendar: the calendar we use today.
The Eastern Church uses the Council of Nicaea’s method, but they use the older less astronomically accurate Julian calendar to calculate the dates.
At Christmas time you may notice that although most of the world celebrates Christmas on December 25, in Eastern Countries it isn’t celebrated until January 6. Some people refer to it as “Little Christmas” because it coincides with Western Church Epiphany or Three Kings Day.
So how is April Fools Day related to the Easter date? Once again it goes back to the Julian to Gregorian calendar adaptation that started in 1582 in some European countries and was last adapted by Turkey on January 1, 1927. With the calendar switch, the first day of the New Year was changed from April 1 to January 1. Some people either because they were resistant to change or perhaps because of slow communication to the rural areas, didn’t get the memo of the date change, so they celebrated on April 1 and became known as the “April Fools”.
I started searching to see if anyone has created an “April Fools” quilt block and although I found blocks-of-the-month for April, I didn’t find anything specific to April 1.
Next, I turned my attention to Easter. I did an internet search and was amazed to find hundreds of secular bunny/chicks/eggs/basket quilt blocks, Palm Sunday (Palms) and Crown of Thorns (Good Friday) quilt blocks, but except for modern blocks featuring crosses, I could not find a single religious traditional quilt block! Surely they must be out there and if you know of one to share, please contact me. I’m thinking of “the empty tomb” or “He is Risen” or “the women at the tomb”.
Easter is celebrated for 50 days: ten more days than Lent. So, if you find one or design one I can publish it sometime in the near future. Until then I wish you all “April Fools” and a Blessed Happy Easter!