Easter is one of those holidays that always catches me by surprise, either because one minute it’s Christmas and the next it’s upon us, or the other extreme when it feels like chocolate eggs have been lounging around on supermarket shelves for months before it finally arrives. This year, it’s definitely the latter. Probably because my birthday falls at the beginning of the month I’ve always been acutely aware of the timing of Easter. Of course it was crucial when I was a kid as it determined whether or not I had to go to school on the big day!
But why is Easter such a moveable feast? There is in fact a five week window for it to fall in, and it’s all down to the full moon and when it occurs in relation to the Spring Equinox, which itself can either fall on March 19th, 20th or 21st. Confused?
It’s fair to say that the weather in April doesn’t help either. When Walt Disney coined the classic ‘Drip drip drop little April showers’ in Bambi, he wasn’t wrong. April can be a turbulent and confused month weather wise too. I should know. Over the years I have enjoyed various weather situations on my birthday from hot sun to torrential downpours to snow!
Then what about the throwing of a rabbit into the mix (not literally I should add)? A rabbit that delivers chocolate eggs?? Why a rabbit and not, say, a chicken? It would certainly make more biological sense… The exact reason is still a bit murky. One theory stems from pagan tradition, specifically the festival of Eostre—a goddess of fertility whose animal symbol was a bunny. Rabbits, known for their enthusiastic breeding, have traditionally symbolised fertility, and spring and fertility of course go hand in hand.
Okay - so now we’re agreed that Easter is a festival that embraces some slightly confused logic, how about this as an idea? Don’t worry about the whens and hows of it all, just go with the flow, enjoy the daffodils, and eat chocolate. Sit back and relax in the knowledge that Easter weekend is the one weekend of the year when all of us are allowed to eat as much of the stuff as we like, because the Easter bunny says it’s okay!