Easter 2021 – Passover – 2021 – Julian vs. Gregorian – the Irish Greeting

Happy Easter to All Who Celebrate the Day.

It seemed to come upon me very quickly – the isolation from real life has thrown much off, even the calendar.

The Orthodox Easter – that church still follows the Julian calendar unlike the other major Christian faiths which follow the Gregorian calendar – is not until May 2, 2021. I believed the calendar that determined Passover was similar to the Julian calendar but it differs. I learned – at this late date –  Passover begins on the 15th day of Nisan which typically begins on the night of a full moon after the northern vernal equinox.

The last full moon before now was  the worm moon which occurred on March 28. I was curious about its name so I had to look that up. It  got its name from the earthworms that emerge at this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. In most years, the Worm Moon is the last Full Moon – before the March equinox, which can take place on March 19, 20, or 21. This year it came after the spring (March) equinox (anything to do with global warming?) so Passover began on March 27 (don’t know why the day discrepancy – might have to do with the  way the day is calculated starting at sundown). It continues on to April 4.  So these subtleties caused me not to wish those who celebrate Passover a Happy Passover. So I do so now.

The Orthodox Easter is determined a little differently. It is set on the first Sunday following the first full moon that occurs after the spring (March) equinox. If the spring equinox occurred on March 21, and the full moon was on March 28, then its Easter should have been today, April 2.

That would be true but they do not use the Gregorian calendar. Under the Julian calendar today is March 20 so the spring equinox is occurring around now.  The next full moon in the Gregorian calendar is  Monday, April 26 and the Sunday following is May 2. The next full moon in the Julian calendar it is April 13 so it would be the following Sunday and when we transpose from Julius Caesar to Pope Gregory it becomes May 2.

Now as far as I can tell there is a holiday around this time for the Muslims. I believe early in April Ramadan starts. So for those folk too, I extend a Happy Ramadan.  I know there is an Arabic word I should use as well as there being a Hebrew word I should use for Passover but I must default to what I know which is English.

I went looking though for the Irish or Gaelic words for Happy Easter. I came across the photo shown here labeled: “These people dancing on the pier at Clogherhead, Co. Louth in 1935 certainly look as though they are working up an appetite!” Apparently it was a tradition to have a big feast because “all of that food could be worked off at an Easter Dance contest where people would aim to win simply by outlasting all of the other participants or by being a particularly fine dancer. And the prize – more food in the form of a beautifully decorated cake, specially baked for the occasion.”

My friend Ronald was born in Dundalk which in County Louth. I wonder if he ever attended these dances. If you click on the photo you can enlarge it. My impression is that the Irish were certainly a dark haired race of people although a couple of light persons can be spotted sitting on the wall.

That’s  a long way of wishing you all: “ Beannachtaí na Cásca oraibh”

Cásca sona


  1. Shalom.

  2. William M. Connolly

    Henry’s post is excellent.

    I, too, miss Mass and other meetings. I liked the chapel at the Prudential Center, where families and individuals from old neighborhoods and tourists from around the world attended services.

    It is inherent in our nature to gather, to share feelings, experiences, understandings, stories, convictions, music. Some gather at recovery meetings, spiritual meetings often concluding with an “Our Father” or “Serenity Prayer.” We gather, too, for concerts, lectures, sporting events, festivals, birthdays, baptisms, marriages, dances.

    Jesus said, “This (bread) is my body; This (wine) is my blood.” “Do this in memory of me.” It is a simple directive: gather, remember, share good things. Jesus also said, “Whenever two are gathered in my name, I am there.” Sharing thoughtfully is the essence of Christianity. “Love neighbors as yourself.” Sharing thoughts, talents, resources, writings, stories, and poetry (psalms, prayers), this is the essence of Scripture. Traditions. Churchgoing with neighbors unifies by simply acknowledging the Holy Spirit. A Holy Spirit suffuses and unifies all in good will. In all religions, there are gatherings, sharing, teachings, learning in awe of Spirit.
    I was born an Irish Catholic American, with Spanish blood (‘Black Irish”), with ancestors from Galway, Mayo-Roscommon area, and Kilkenny, too. I was made in Phoenix an “Apache Blood Brother”. I am grateful for all spiritual infusions.

    Gatherings, sharing, rituals, rites, traditions, prayers. Listening. Reverence, awe. Humbling. Soul satisfying. Striving, searching, dreaming impossible dreams.

    Our family said every evening, “Grace Before Meals”: “Bless us, oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive through thy bounty, Christ, our Lord, Amen.” A young niece abbreviated Grace: “God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food.” Laconic gratitude.

    A friend, a contemporary priest from our neighborhood was told Scientists were creating life in laboratories. He responded, “Create your own dirt.” Make your own carbon. I hope scientists do not recreate another Big Bang in lab; the crowned virus unleashed is bad enough.

    Jesus said he was there not to replace traditions, but to affirm them, to fulfill them. Likewise, Jesus gave us two primary commandments: “Love God with all your heart and soul; Love neighbors as yourself.” Jesus added, “Forgive seventy times seven times.”

    I should repent for figuratively throwing stones at liberals. BUT, Scripture teaches us to correct errancy, to admonish the astray, to pass along teachings, to try to sway. Why not go Christ’s way? Jesus admonished Pharisees, those who desecrated temples, turning sacred places into dens of iniquity, dens of thieves. Any desecration occurring in America these days?

    You know, I frequently think of James Joyce’s last paragraph of his last short story, “The Dead” in “The Dubliners.” The protagonist Gabriel “swoons” overlooking a graveyard, “he heard the snow faintly falling and falling faintly through the universe”. He described snow on “crosses” (evoking crucifixion) a little gate’s “spears” (evoking Roman soldiers’ spears), and “thorns”( Jesus’s crown.) Gabriel seems spiritually struck instantly by the ineffable, the mystery of “the living and dead.” Re-read it. See if you see Joyce’s words as I see. Something dawned upon Gabriel; his head and heart swooned.

    Happy Easter.

    • William M. Connolly

      Perhaps, my last sentence should have said, “his soul swooned.”

      • The highlight of our Easter Sunday during our extended adolescence in Savin Hill, was waiting for Beverly Kerrigan parading by our ogling spot on Savin Hill Ave. wearing the most flamboyant hats this side of Paris.

  3. Happy Easter to Matt and to all MOB-sters

  4. “That would be true but they do not use the Gregorian calendar. Under the Julian calendar today is March 20 so the spring equinox is occurring around now. ”

    The equinox occurs regardless of which calendar is used.

  5. “When I finally head back to church this weekend, after a year of COVID-avoidance, it is going to feel a little strange. These past 12 months constitute the longest stretch of time I’ve been away since I was born. And I’m not going to lie, part of me liked the sudden plague-long dispensation. I’ve become used to the lazy, empty, gently unfolding Sundays. They’ve grown on me. I could live like this, it occurs to me — as so many others do, all the time.

    So why go back? When I ask myself what exactly I’ve missed, I realize it isn’t a weekly revelation. I don’t expect to feel something profound every time I go to Mass — because most of the time I don’t, and rarely have. The one thing Catholicism teaches the bored and distracted churchgoer is that your own mood doesn’t really matter. The consecration will happen regardless. Your inspiration is not the point. And what makes this all cohere somehow is a physical ritual — and that, I realize, is what I really miss. I miss the silent genuflection; the chanting in unison with others; the standing up and kneeling down and standing up again. I miss the messy democracy of the communion line, and the faces I recognize from decades in my parish, and the faces I don’t. I miss enacting something ineffable with my body, using words I never chose myself, and use only in this space. I miss the irrational, collective order of it all. And beneath all this, only poking above ground every now and again, I miss the weekly reminder of what I deeply believe within the folds of my consciousness: the command of universal love; the fact of life after death; the radical truth of experiential mystery.” Andrew Sullivan

    • Henry. Thanks. Andrew Sullivan is one of my favorite writers. He had blog with over a million followers- the dish ‘ which he gave up.

      He is probably more responsible for the widespread acceptance of hay marriage in America than anyone else.