Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Mothering Sunday, Lent and the Full Moon

Did you know...

The full moon dictates when Mothering Sunday falls.

Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent (22nd March this year, lest we forget). Lent begins 40 days* (not including Sundays) before Easter Sunday - today (25th February). Christianity celebrates Easter – commemorating/celebrating the Resurrection of Christ – the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox: when night and day are equal length.

In 2009, the vernal equinox falls on 20th March. The next full moon is 9th April. Easter Sunday is, therefore, 12th April.

With me so far?

So, Mothering Sunday is dependent on the beginning of Lent. Lent relies on starting 40 days before Holy Saturday: the day sandwiched between Good Friday and Easter Sunday; and the last day of Lent. Easter Sunday falls on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox (the Paschal Moon). Ergo, the full moon tells us when Mothering Sunday should fall. And you thought it was just a pretty, shiny thing behind the clouds. Tut tut.

It's funny, these days when I see the full moon organising and timekeeping I can't help but think Pagan. It is our Pagan ancestors, of course, who lived lunar lives and still today worship our close, rocky cousin. Strange that the moon should play such a key role in Christianity's most sacred celebration. Guess it's good that I'm dedicating a chapter to "God and the Moon" in Moonwalking.

Here's another piece of Mothering Sunday input. Always write "Mothering Sunday" because nobody will ever agree where the blasted apostrophe should go in "Mother's Day". One mother's day? All mothers' day? Who knows? Not I.

*Lent represents the time Jesus spent in the desert with Satan (not as pals, I hasten to add; with Satan trying to tempt Jesus into doing bad things, the wily old devil)

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