Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Is Spring Finally Here?

Despite the continued cold temperatures, Spring seems finally to have made an appearance in New York. Beyond the obvious association with Passover and the Last Supper, I don't know the history of Easter as a officially sanctioned feast within the institutional Church. But I do wonder the extent to which Easter - like Christmas - incorporated pagan traditions and festivals, particularly in the Celtic church prior to the Synod of Whitby. Since we know that the early Church often co-opted local pagan religious practices and initially created a hybridized orthodoxy in many areas, one has to speculate on the rough juxtaposition of Easter and the Spring Equinox. And, given the physical manifestations of Spring and Easter's emphasis on resurrection, no doubt there's some association. I can't even begin to understand the formula, derived as early as the 4th century, used to calculate the date of Easter each year. But according to that formula, Easter can never be before March 22nd or after April 25th. So our Easter this year was as early as any of us will ever see it, since Easter will not land on March 22nd until the year 2265. Easter was last observed on April 25th in 1943 and will again be celebrated on that date in 2038. (Just a bit of Easter trivia for those of you who care about such things. I enjoy this sort of thing simply because it reveals how fluid belief and practice could be in the early Church, or ecclesia primitiva as it's sometimes called. So many religious groups today seem too concerned about enforcing rigid orthodoxy that they threaten to create a monolithic faith over which contentious parties will inevitably fight. Of course, warring over what constitutes orthodoxy and heresy punctuates the entire history of Christianity.)

The photos were taken around Greenwich Village over the last couple of days. Enjoy! (By the way, I love the ability to switch to fully manual settings on this camera. It allows me to play with depth of field, in this case bringing foreground objects into sharp focus while blurring the background.)

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1 comment:

One Wink at a Time said...

Gorgeous pictures, Bri.
It was 61 degrees here today :-D
Coincidentally, I have been on a mission for about two weeks asking around, wondering who decides or how we know when to celebrate Easter. It seems to me that Christ was born on one day, probly Dec. 25. It seems to follow that he died on just one day if you catch my drift... Anyway, the only person I came across with a clue, was my son-in-law. He gave me the "equation" which is pretty much this: we celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring in the Spring Equinox. I hope I got that right. Supposedly, this year's celebration on the 23 is the earliest possible day to celebrate it within that scheme.