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A Movable Feast: Why Easter Does Not Occur on a Fixed Date Each Year

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Christmas is always December 25 according to the Gregorian calendar (the calendar used by the Western Church), but the date of Easter varies year to year. One holiday celebrates the birth of Christ, the other His Resurrection. If Christmas is a fixed date, wouldn’t it be logical for Easter also to be celebrated on the same date each year?

Easter is considered “a movable feast” (New Catholic Encyclopedia) and Easter’s date also affects other holy days: Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent; Palm Sunday; the days of Holy Week – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday – and Pentecost. The earliest date for Easter, March 22, occurred in 1761 and 1818 (I didn’t search further back); it will fall on March 22 again in 2285 and 2353. Easter can be as late as April 25 as happened in 1886 and 1943 and this will occur again in 2038. This year, 2015, Easter is celebrated on April 5.

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If you are a techie, you can calculate Easter dates for yourself using Easter Algorithm for a Computer Program . The rest of us can use our calendars.

From the earliest years of Christianity, Easter has been its most important feast, and the date of the observance varied. No one day of the week was associated with Christmas, Christ’s birth day, and by about A.D. 400 the western Church had assigned December 25 as the date for the observation of Christmas. The Easter season, however, did have specific days of the week associated with its events and this contributed to the variety of dates on which Easter was celebrated. Historically, it is believed that Jesus held the Last Supper on the 14th day of Nisan (a Jewish month), the date of Passover. The date of Passover was based upon a lunar calendar and Passover did not always fall on the same day of the week. But for Christians, Christ’s Resurrection occurred on a Sunday and therefore Easter should be celebrated on a Sunday. And this led to conflicts which were resolved by the Council of Nicaea (Council of Nice).

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In A.D. 325 the Council of Nicaea (Council of Nice) decreed that Easter should be celebrated by everyone, everywhere, on the same day, Sunday, and “that this Sunday must follow the fourteenth day of the paschal moon; that the moon was to be accounted the paschal moon whose fourteenth day followed the spring equinox; that some provision should be made … for determining the proper date of Easter and communicating it to the rest of the world …”  Further refinements were made in 525 and with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1582.

What are a paschal full moon and a spring equinox?

pascal-moon

A paschal full moon is the first full moon after the spring equinox. The spring/March/vernal equinox marks the beginning of spring in our hemisphere and the beginning of fall south of the equator. This year it took place on March 20 at 6:45 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time). At the equinox the earth is tilted so that the sun’s light lands equally on the northern and southern hemispheres and night and day are approximately the same length. The date of the spring or vernal equinox can be March 19, 20 or 21. On the day of the equinox, the sun rises due east and sets due west; for the rest of the year until the fall equinox sunrise and sunset points remain northward.

The date of Easter, therefore, derives from a lunar calendar, and its date can vary annually. For the mathematical formula, see Smith, pp. 24-26. Once the date of Easter is determined, the other dates are calculated: Ash Wednesday, the first Wednesday before the first Sunday of Lent (count back six weeks from Easter to the first Sunday of Lent, then go back to the Wednesday before the Sunday); Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter; Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are observed in the week immediately before Easter Sunday. Pentecost (also known as Whitsunday) is the 50th day after Easter; it marks the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and others while they were praying. After receiving the Holy Spirit, the Apostles went forth to preach.

The calculation of the date of Easter and the other holy days associated with it involves a combination of faith and mathematics, but one hopes that the above information helps explain why Easter does not occur on a fixed date each year.

Dig Deeper:

Holy Holidays! The Catholic Origins of Celebration (2011). Greg Tobin.
Passover and Easter: Origin and History to Modern Times (1999). Paul F. Bradshaw and Lawrence A. Hoffman, editors.
“The Date of Easter: A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of Mathematics, Villanova University” (1954). Sister Mary Bernita Smith, RSM.
The Regulation of Easter, or the Cause of the Errors and Dfferences [sic] Contracted in the Calculation of It Discover’d and Duly Consider’d. (1735). Henry Wilson.
The Great Cicle [sic] of Easter Containing a Short Rule, to Knowe Yppon [sic] What Day of the Month Easter Day will Fall … (1584). John Pett.

 

 


imagesArticle by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. Stock images from INGimage. 


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Foto Friday: New Life

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Whiteboard-Easter

Whiteboard art by Joanne Quinn, Team Leader & Graphic Designer Communication & Service Promotion Team

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Service Promotion Team and Special Acquisitions Coordinator in Resource Management


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The 8:30 | Things to Know Before You Go (4/2)

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Here’s your daily dose of library-oriented speed-reads to start your day!

TODAY IN THE LIBRARY…

ICE Center Program Meeting. 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. in room 205. Questions? Contact: sharon.ballard@villanova.edu


SAVE THE DATE…

Wednesday, April 22, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in Speakers’ Corner. 2015 Open Mic Poetry Reading and Arthology Celebration. Class of 2015 Creative Writing Contestants, other students and members of the University community will share original work and favorite poems, ranging from the humorous to the thought-provoking to the sublime. This event will also feature the release party of Arthology, one of Villanova University’s student art-literary magazines, which will be available to students for free. Whether you have a poem you’d like to share or just want to listen, the Department of English and Falvey Memorial Library invite you to enjoy this entertaining and memorable celebration of poetry.


A Scientific Analysis of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death

A scientific analysis of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on Holy Thursday and Good Friday has been published in JAMA – The Journal of the American Medical Association, titled, “On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ.” Taking Jesus as a historical figure, William D. Edwards, MD, et al, analyze from a medical perspective circumstances leading up to and including his crucifixion with the intent to present “a medically and historically accurate account of the physical death of the one called Jesus Christ.”

Falvey has this article. It can also be found though a Google search.


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Follow Falvey Library on Instagram for a fun assortment of people photos, quotes and whiteboard art!


NOM NOM NOM!
The Elite Eight of #NomNomNomatology have been chosen! Be sure to vote for the winningest foods in some intensely delicious match-ups right here, or vote in person at the front desk in Falvey!
NOMNOMNOMATOLOGY


POEM OF THE DAY
April is Poetry Month. Check in daily for a new poem!

Fireflies by Marilyn Kallet (see more)

In the dry summer field at nightfall,
fireflies rise like sparks.
Imagine the presence of ghosts
flickering, the ghosts of young friends,
your father nearest in the distance.
This time they carry no sorrow,
no remorse, their presence is so light.
Childhood comes to you,
memories of your street in lamplight,
holding those last moments before bed,
capturing lightning-bugs,
with a blossom of the hand
letting them go. Lightness returns,
an airy motion over the ground
you remember from Ring Around the Rosie.
If you stay, the fireflies become fireflies
again, not part of your stories,
as unaware of you as sleep, being
beautiful and quiet all around you.


HAVE A GREAT DAY!

If you have ideas for inclusion in The 8:30 or to Library News in general, you’re invited to send them to joanne.quinn@villanova.edu.


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The Curious ‘Cat: What do you think about Falvey’s new drone-delivery service?

Curious Cat

This week, the Curious ‘Cat asks Villanova students, “What do you think about Falvey’s new drone-delivery service?”

Jacqueline AranJacqueline Aran—“The ten minutes is a lot quicker than what they estimated the delivery to be, which is good … ‘cause they [students] won’t have to walk over if it’s snowing or raining or something like that. … I think it’s cool to test it out and to see how it would work out in actuality using legitimate students asking for these things. … It would be cool if this could actually happen. At the same time, it seems super expensive for no reason. I mean, we have legs; we can walk.”

Karla GuadronKarla Guadron—“I think it’s really cool. It’s something students will take advantage of especially since it has been a controversial issue for Google and Amazon using it as a national service, with restrictions on where they can and can’t fly over. So it’s really cool that this service is available on Villanova’s campus.”

 

 

 

Magdalen SceskiMagdalen Sceski—“I think that’s really interesting … I definitely never heard of that before … So you can order the book online and then it checks it out for you and brings it … I actually don’t live on campus, but … if I did live on campus I think I would make use of that … It would definitely be really, really cool. It does seem almost incredibly unbelievable, but it would be really cool.”

 

RS8763_DSC_3046 copy-scrNeil Patil—“I think it’s actually a really great idea to start implementing … I think a lot of students would find it better to just have the books delivered to them instead of them having to come down here, having to sort through everything and look through everything to try to figure out what they’re looking for. And that way the Library can just be direct with them. It’s really cool.”

 

 

Todd MacDonaldTodd MacDonald—“That’s really interesting. I don’t really know anything about that; it seems pretty cool, though.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

RS8768_DSC_3052 copy-scrWilly Annan—“I think that’s really cool … it’s a really good idea … It’s something that seems almost like—what’s the word I’m looking for?—very Terminator-ish … future and so forth, science fiction … It’s going to be really great for the incoming freshmen. I mean, we should probably walk a little bit more instead of having things delivered to us. But it’s a really cool idea, and I think it’s showing a lot of progress on the University’s part. ”

 

The Curious ‘Cat wishes to thank this week’s participants for their contributions to our special April Fools edition.


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Nomnomnomatology: El(eat) Eight

NOM! You’ve decided on our el(eat) eight and the competition is getting delicious. I’m quite chuffed to say that all of last week’s predictions were one hundred percent accurate! Woohoo!

It’s now time to figure out that Final Four for that Final Four Food Fight.

450px-Stephen_Colbert_presents_Stephen_Colbert's_Americone_DreamMac and Cheese vs. Ben and Jerry’s
As the Sweet (Savory) Sixteen might have projected, this matchup is all about the savory versus the sweet—okay, okay, maybe savory is a bit too elegant of a word to describe macaroni and cheese, but let’s roll with it. What these contenders have in common is a whole lot of lactose, so I hope you love your dairy! That being said, their difference is their temperature. The weather this week or the library’s thermostat just might be the deciding factor of this tantalizing battle, but given the end of the week’s balmy, rainy turn, I’m thinking the taste of spring will bring a win for team ice cream.

ChocolatebrownieBrownies vs. Grilled Cheese
Hey, brownies are good. Really well-made brownies are on another level. All grilled cheese is perfect, especially paired with tomato soup. How do you pick a winner among two winners? Well, grilled cheese unfortunately isn’t paired with tomato soup for this tournament, but I have no doubt that had it been, it would have taken the whole shebang. As it is, brownies—and we’ll go ahead and say it’s the rich, soft, warm kind—are going to take this one.

512px-BK-French-FriesFrench Fries vs. Popcorn
Popcorn, if you’re easy on the butter, can be both a fun and relatively healthy snack. But who’s really going to vote for nutrition here? As I’ve been saying from the beginning, fries just have a universal fan base. I don’t think there’s any stopping them. Fries are going to take popcorn with very little effort.

512px-Reeses-PB-Big-CupReese’s Cups vs. Dark Chocolate
This one’s getting to the nitty gritty of chocolate competitions. I know dark chocolate has those fancy health claims, and I know it’s a classy treat, and I know how delicious those Trader Joe’s packs are—especially when taste-testing different cocoa percentages—but peanut butter. Since “peanut butter out of the jar” is out of the competition, I think the peanut butter lovers will be very vocal about this one and bring Reese’s Cups the W.

Is your stomach rumbling yet? Be sure to vote for the Final Four online or at the circulation desk in Falvey. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more #nomnomnomatology action.


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The Highlighter: How do I find schedules for support services in the Library and also the Library itself?

HIGHLIGHTER-PRO

Did you know that in addition to the Research Support Center, the Library also houses the Learning Support Center, the Mathematical Learning Resource Center and the Writing Center? All of their schedules can be found by clicking just one link on Falvey’s homepage. This video shows how to find that link and the schedules for support services as well as the Library itself. (Enable Closed Captioning for silent viewing):

For additional “How to” videos, click the “Help” button on Falvey’s homepage.


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The 8:30 | Things to Know Before You Go (3/31)

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Here’s your daily dose of library-oriented speed-reads to start your day!

ATTENTION FACULTY…

FINAL DAY to Submit Falvey Scholars Award Nominations! 

If you haven’t already, please consider nominating an eligible student for a Falvey Scholar award. The Falvey Scholar awards are given to seniors who have completed exemplary (and publicly presentable) scholarship or research during their undergraduate careers at Villanova. Nominations must be submitted by TODAY Tuesday, March 31. Interested in nominating a student? Submit a nomination.


TODAY IN THE LIBRARY…

APA Demystified. 4:00-4:45 p.m. in room 207. Come learn the basics of citing all types of documents: books, journal articles, and websites. Questions? Contact: barbara.quintiliano@villanova.edu

VSB Peer Tutor Office Hours. 6:00-7:30 p.m. in room 205. Open to all VSB students. Walk-in study sessions. (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the semester.) Questions? Contact: patricia.burdo@villanova.edu


IT TAKES COURAGE…
…to grow up and become who you really are. Are you a fan of poet e.e. cummings? Read an article about the newly-illustrated “celebration” of the poet’s life, Enormous Smallness.


FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK
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If you give our page a like on Facebook, you’ll be so in the know. Not only do we share links to all the goings-on of our blog, but we also post announcements and share very cool content from all around the internet!


036THAT NEW BOOK SMELL: NEW HOLDINGS AT FALVEY

To give you an example of what you might find in the book An introduction to electronic art through the teaching of Jacques Lacan: strangest thing, I turned to chapter one on “Bodies” and found the following description of a QuickTime movie by Michael Rees. “Each coupled figure in the representation is poised between a single body with symmetrical elements and a hybrid of two, or perhaps four bodies, fused as conjoined twins.” It was the strangest thing.


NOM NOM NOM!
The Elite Eight of #NomNomNomatology have been chosen! Be sure to vote for the winningest foods in some intensely delicious match-ups right here, or vote in person at the front desk in Falvey!
NOMNOMNOMATOLOGY


QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones.” – 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne


HAVE A GREAT DAY!

If you have ideas for inclusion in The 8:30 or to Library News in general, you’re invited to send them to joanne.quinn@villanova.edu.


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The 8:30 | Things to Know Before You Go (3/30)

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Here’s your daily dose of library-oriented speed-reads to start your day!

TODAY IN THE LIBRARY…

Theology & Religious Studies: Dies Academicus. Graduate Students in the Theology & Religious Studies Program will present their thesis defenses to faculty and other graduate students. 12:30 p.m. in room 205.


SAVE THE DATE…

2015 Open Mic Poetry Reading and Arthology Celebration. Wednesday, April 22, from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. in Speakers’ Corner. Class of 2015 Creative Writing Contestants, other students and members of the University community will share original work and favorite poems, ranging from the humorous to the thought-provoking to the sublime. This event will also feature the release party of Arthology, one of Villanova University’s student art-literary magazines, which will be available to students for free. Whether you have a poem you’d like to share or just want to listen, the Department of English and Falvey Memorial Library invite you to enjoy this entertaining and memorable celebration of poetry.


ATTENTION FACULTY…

TWO DAYS left to Submit Falvey Scholars Award Nominations! 

Please consider nominating an eligible student for a Falvey Scholar award. The Falvey Scholar awards are given to seniors who have completed exemplary (and publicly presentable) scholarship or research during their undergraduate careers at Villanova. The awards traditionally have an emphasis on work that has required substantial use of scholarly literature of the sort provided and supported by the library. Nominations must be submitted by TOMORROW Tuesday, March 31. Interested in nominating a student? Submit a nomination.


WITH TAPE, IT’S TANGIBLE…

Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 4.00.15 PMDid you hear that cassette tapes were back? Of course, in some people’s basements, they never left, but those wonderful car coasters that could just about fit one side of Chicago V on them (you didn’t really like that last song anyway, did you?) are evidently being embraced by the new generation! What’s behind it? Well it could be the high profit margin factor or the hip factor according to Delaware native Mike Haley’s podcast, Tabs Out, which focuses on all things cassettes. Read more here. Do you still have cassettes around the house? Would you admit it if you did? What did you love about them? Let us know in the comments section!


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at homeTHAT NEW BOOK SMELL: NEW HOLDINGS AT FALVEY

In At home in nineteenth-century America: a documentary historythe author, Amy Richter, “draws upon advice manuals, architectural designs, personal accounts, popular fiction, advertising images, and reform literature to revisit the variety of places Americans call home.” What’s your definition of home?


QUOTE OF THE DAY
“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something.” -The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien


HAVE A GREAT DAY!

If you have ideas for inclusion in The 8:30 or to Library News in general, you’re invited to send them to joanne.quinn@villanova.edu.


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Foto Friday: Party time!

The Villanova University community came together on March 18 to celebrate the Rev. Dennis J. Gallagher, OSA, PhD’s golden jubilee. Best wishes, Father Gallagher, for another 50 years!

 

L,-Fr.-&-J

Linda Hauck, the Rev. Dennis J. Gallagher, OSA, PhD, Joanne Quinn.

Fr.-G-&-P.

Father Gallagher, University President the Rev. Peter Donohue, OSA, PhD, ’75 CLAS, Interim Library Director Bob DeVos, PhD.

 

 

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Rev. Dennis J. Gallagher, OSA, PhD.

Photos by Alice Bampton, Visual Specialist and Senior Writer, Communication and Service Promotion Team

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Service Promotion team and special acquisitions coordinator in Resource Management

 


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The 8:30 | Things to Know Before You Go (3/27)

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Here’s your daily dose of library-oriented speed-reads to start your day!

TODAY IN THE LIBRARY…

Villanova Electronic Enthusiasts Club (VEEC) Regular Group Meeting. The VEEC is a social club, focused on recreation and relaxation. Participants gather once a week on (most) Fridays to play video games in a safe and fun environment. 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the first-floor lounge (Holy Grounds). Always accepting new members. Questions? Contact: laura.matthews@villanova.edu


HERE’S SOMETHING WE BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW….

1296663_0It’s Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day! What’s your favorite? We love this list of country music songs about school. And, of course, we’re a little partial to anything Toby Keith does – because of his Wildcat connection, of course! Hmm…if librarians wrote country songs, they might go a little bit like this: “I Left My Autobiography in Your Automobile, or “You Must Be Overdue ‘Cause You Have Fine Written All Over You.”  We’re betting you could do better! Write your suggestions in our comments section! :-)


NOM NOM NOM!
Sweet Sixteen is upon us in #NomNomNomatology! Be sure to vote for the winningest foods in some intensely delicious match-ups right here, or vote in person at the front desk in Falvey!
NOMNOMNOMATOLOGY


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Do you follow the library on YouTube? We have a great array of Falvey-produced videos old and new that are instructional and entertaining. Newcomers to the channel are archival copies of Gerald Dierkes’ Highlighter videos, which debuted last semester, featuring helpful insider tips on getting the most out of the library’s resources. View and rewind to your heart’s content!


Du BoisTHAT NEW BOOK SMELL…NEW HOLDINGS AT FALVEY

We’re heading into a weekend and next week brings a holiday. That will give you plenty of time to delve into The problem of the color line at the turn of the Twentieth century – the essential early essays by W.E.B. Du Bois and edited by Nahum Dimitri Chandler.

Seth Moglen, Lehigh University, describes this collection of essays as a “systematic, chronological tour of Du Bois’s evolving vision of the global color line, as that vision was developed in the crucial opening years of his publishing life.”


QUOTE OF THE DAY
“That is one good thing about this world. . .there are always sure to be more springs.” – Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery


PUT A SPRING IN YOUR STEP AND THE REST OF THE DAY TO YOURSELF!

If you have ideas for inclusion in The 8:30 or to Library News in general, you’re invited to send them to joanne.quinn@villanova.edu.


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Last Modified: March 27, 2015