Saturday, April 20, 2019

Happy Passover, Happy Easter, and Kalo Paska


Last night (Friday) was the first Passover Seder.  Tomorrow is Easter in Western Christianity, Tuesday is my grandson’s birthday, and next Sunday is Orthodox (Greek) Easter. So this post shall be an historical one, though as I'm only halfway through my book tour it could very well have degenerated into an hysterical one.

Passover or Pesach always takes place around the same time as Easter or Paska because the holiday of Passover, commemorating God’s liberation of the Jewish People from slavery in Egypt, was the occasion for the Last Supper.  In fact, before the year 325 Easter was calculated upon the lunar-based Hebrew calendar and all one had to do to determine the date for Easter was to “ask a Jew in your community” when Passover was celebrated.

All that changed in 325 when the First Ecumenical Synod calculated the exact date of Easter from the more modern cycles of the sun-based Julian calendar.  That became Christianity’s generally accepted method for calculating the date of Easter and continued to be so for more than five hundred years after the Great Schism of 1052 separated the Church of the West to Rome and the Church of the East to Constantinople (Istanbul).

Then, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced what is known as the Gregorian calendar for the express purpose of correctly calculating Easter, something the Julian calendar was not believed to have achieved.  Today, the Gregorian calendar is the world’s officially accepted civil calendar (except in Greece’s 1500 year-old monastic community of Mount Athos—see Prey on Patmos), but there still is not agreement among the Christian world over whether it correctly fixes the date of Easter. 

Indeed, as recently as 1997 the World Council of Churches proposed a method of using modern scientific knowledge for precisely calculating Easter and replacing divergent practices.  It was not adopted.

As for how Passover fits into all this, Julian calendar Easter always falls on a Sunday after the first day of the eight-day Passover holiday and generally within those eight days, though at times more than a month later.  Western Easter, relying on the Gregorian calendar, also generally falls within Passover’s eight days, though three times in every nineteen-year period it falls a month before Passover.

Yes, that’s why Easter is considered a moveable feast, as opposed to Christmas that always occurs on the same date.

I guess you could say that, of all these celebratory springtime occasions, the only certainty is that my grandson’s birthday always falls on April 23rd. :)

Happy Birthday, Azi.

And a Happy Easter, Kalo Paska, and Zissen Pesach to all. 


My Upcoming Book Events:

Wednesday, April 24, 6:30 PM
Houston, TX
Author Speaking and Signing

Friday, April 26, 7:00 PM
Denver, CO
Author Speaking and Signing

Monday, April 29, 7:00 PM
Pittsburgh, PA
Author Speaking and Signing

Wednesday, May 1, 6:30 PM
New York, NY
Author Speaking and Signing

Thursday, May 2, 7:00 PM
Naperville, IL
Author Speaking and Signing

Friday, May 3, 7:00 PM
Chicago, IL (Forest Park)
Author Speaking and Signing

Saturday, May 4, 2 PM
Milwaukee, WI
Author Speaking and Signing

Thursday May 9, 5:00 PM
CRIMEFEST—Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
Panelist on “Nobody Would Believe it if You Wrote it: Fake News, Post-Truth and Changing Words,” with Fiona Erskine, William Shaw, Gilly Macmillan, moderated by Paul E. Hardisty

Friday, May 10, 5:10 PM
CRIMEFEST—Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
Panelist on “Sunshine Noir,” with Paul Hardisty,  Barbara Nadel, Robert Wilson, moderated by Michael Stanley

October 31-November 3
BOUCHERCON 2019---Hyatt Regency Dallas
Panel Schedule Yet to be Announced