By Ray O’Hanlon
Easter Monday this year is a green letter day. And not just because it marks the 84th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.
The day and date are special this year because they will combine for an unusually rare convergence.
Not only will this be the first time that Easter Monday will fall on April 24 since the date on which fighting broke out around Dublin. But it will be the last time it falls on this date until 2079.
Easter Sunday must fall on a day between March 22 and April 25. The holiest day in the western Christian calendar is chosen each year on the basis that it is the first Sunday to follow the full moon that occurs on or after March 21.
The combination of the ecclesiastical and celestial calendars throws up quite a number of possibilities for Easter Sunday’s date and, as a direct consequence, Easter Monday too.
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If you are one of those people who doesn’t like to look too far ahead into the future, the unmistakable sign that Easter Sunday is falling on April 23 and Easter Monday is on the 24th is always the same: It’s when Ash Wednesday falls on March 8.
March 8 is a green letter date too. On that date in 1966, even as Ireland was preparing to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rising, Nelson’s Pillar in O’Connell Street, Dublin, was blown up by Republicans.
For those of you with a darker view of history’s hand, it was also the date in 1702 that William of Orange died after falling from his horse.