Leading article: To everything there is a season

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The Independent Online

Easter is the last major movable feast in the Christian calendar – something which is easy to forget this year, because it falls neither too early (before the end of March) nor too late (a good way through April), but just right. April 8 is pretty much the ideal date for Easter Sunday. So long as the educational year is divided into three terms, this timing for Easter leaves enough time for a break before and after the festival, and does not cut into the summer term. The spring term is neither artificially extended nor curtailed.

That the Easter holiday falls relatively well this year, however, does not mean that all thought of change should be abandoned. Pegging the spring break to the (Western) Christian calendar is an anachronism, and one that is usually compounded by Whit Monday – whose timing depends on Easter – being designated a public holiday, too.

The complexities that arise from having two public holidays in May – avoided this year by adding the later one to the Jubilee weekend – have long prompted calls for the date of Easter to be fixed or the early May holiday to be moved; the latter's political connotations make it unpopular in some circles. Far simpler, though, would be to fix the spring holiday in early April and let church-goers arrange their devotions as they wish.