Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Do you believe in miracles, math?



By G.D. Maxwell

Easter, ostensibly the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, is the Rubik’s Cube of holidays and as such, has always been the holiday I most associate with celebrating my own state of normalcy, to wit: the State of Confusion.

Easter is often referred to as a movable feast. Movable because the holiday can fall any time between March 22 nd and April 25 th . Feast because, well, I’m not sure why but having stuffed my youthful face with chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chickens and accidental cellophane grass – an unwanted byproduct of speed and gluttony – often enough to wish I’d been born an atheist, I’ll just go with the flow on the feast thing.

Along with my cynical disbelief in all things miraculous, it was this ethereal quality of Easter that led me to conclude religion and I would follow two different life paths. I reckoned if the death and resurrection of Jesus were the touchstone events of Christianity and the most learned Keepers of the Faith couldn’t nail down – no pun intended – the date of that miracle any closer than within a month, who was zooming who, so to speak?

But in my quest to study all things trivial, I learned the whole Easter thing was religious-political compromise, a melding of cultures and, best of all, a really cool astronomical-mathematical puzzle. It wasn’t enough to bring me back into the fold but trotting out the Formula For Determining Easter was definitely a great party trick.

Like most religious holidays, Easter has pagan roots modern churches take great pains to dye with the colouring of piety. And like most pagan holidays, it has more than a passing relation to fertility, which is to say, messin’ around. Not coincidentally, like Christmas, it also has to do with the astronomical changing of the seasons, this time the vernal equinox.

I won’t bore you with the Jewish roots of Passover and the morphing bridge between Passover and Easter but trust me, we’re all a lot closer than the various Holy Wars littering history would have us believe.

But Easter is the climax of Lent which is so complicated and drawn out and wrought with guilt I can’t bring myself to discuss it, but I still eat pancakes to kick it off.

Of all cultures for whom Easter is truly the best time of year, it’s the Mexicans who seem to do it right. While figures are sketchy, it is currently estimated that approximately half of Mexico celebrate Semana Santa , the week between Domingo de Ramos and Domingo de Gloria by humbly skiing in Whistler. Welcome, amigos!

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