Monday 27 December 2021

Christmas and Easter - A Proposed Revision

It's been the worst-case Christmas this year from a church service perspective. Same every time Christmas Day falls on a Saturday. You go from Advent on Friday morning to crib service / Christingle/ other crowd-pleaser at 4 pm. To Midnight Mass at 11.30. To Christmas morning on Saturday. And then suddenly it's Christmas 1 on Sunday and clergy and lay ministers and stewards and wardens and elders are dragging themselves back into Church while everyone else votes themselves Sunday off because it's Boxing Day.

There is a simple solution to this.

Move Christmas Day to the nearest Sunday to 25th December.

Then after Sunday/Christmas Day, everyone can have Boxing Day off. Except those really dedicated traddies who like marking the very important feasts that follow Christmas. Clergy and preachers can enjoy a drink without worrying that they have another service in the morning and doing a Dibley.

The Sunday after Christmas will always be the Feast of the Holy Name.

Epiphany will then always be a fortnight later than Christmas Day. On the Sunday. To avoid more clashes. This will give us 14 days of Christmas. So that's not bad.

It also means that you don't have that weird liturgical timing issue like this week, where Jesus is born in a manger, gets lost in Jerusalem, and is then praised by the Wise Men.

But what of Easter, I hear you cry. Well, I propose similar. Fix Good Friday as the nearest to 25 March. This means that the link of 9 months before Christmas is always kept, reflecting the old tradition that the Annunciation and the Crucifixion were the same day. This would mean that they do in fact coincide in our calendar every 7 years, giving us the chance to use John Donne's most poignant poem more often. 

Aha, you say. But then Easter Sunday will be the day the clocks go forward in the UK, six years out of seven. What about those people that attend 6 am Easter vigils? They're doomed to very early rising nearly all the time. 

To which my response is threefold. First of all, move the UK permanently to GMT and be done with this ridiculous rigmarole. Are we children that we have to lie to ourselves about what time it is?

Secondly, if you really think you need to move the clocks - do it on the first Sunday of April instead. What difference would that make?

But thirdly - the sort of people that like to get up for a 6 am service are just the sorts of people that would like to get up for effectively a 5 am one even more. The sleep deprivation is even greater, the dawn experience even more mystical. So they'll be happy.

Outside the world of Church, there are other advantages. With Christmas and Easter the same distance apart every year, retailers will be able to have consistent promotional campaigns and supply chain plans. Thus making planning simpler and thereby giving us happier and more efficient retailers.

So - a revised Christmas and Easter that will keep everyone happy. I commend it to Christendom.

With thanks to this tweet from @FrPsiChi for the inspiration.


  1. We found a sensible solution to the one of the difficulties of a Saturday Christmas; here, management decreed that there should be NO church services in the parish on Boxing Day Sunday. Consequently, everyone could go and see the Keynsham Mummers instead, but as the last performance was at mid-day, getting there wasn't too stressful.

  2. In comes I to say that's a great solution - you can never have too much of mummers.

  3. As someone still recovering from the Saturday Christmas Day, I can see the sense of realigning both Christmas and Easter, but there will be howls of pain from the traditionalists who will say that it was always done the current way, although when we compare Gregorian and Orthodox Calendars we observe differences affecting half of Christianity across the world. Getting agreements on that once with need every country to reorder their calendars, if we can't get agreement on climate change, I can't see amending Calendars getting agreement, unless imposed and that is a non-starter.

    I suspect that the Churches might agree, but I can't see other religions changing their Calendars for the convenience of Christianity.


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