Why Does Easter’s Date Wander?

St. Anne’s Chapel

What shall I wear for Easter?  Will it be cold or warm?  Will we be able to have an outside Easter egg hunt?  Will sunrise services be inside or out?  These are a few of the possible questions one might be pondering at this time each year.  Why is the date for Easter different each year?

As you read further, I hope to help answer these questions.

There are 35 possible dates in the spring when Easter could be celebrated! The reason comes from decisions made several centuries after Christianity began.  The first step to unfolding this mysterious question is to understand a little about the Julian or solar based calendar of the Roman Empire.  For 2,000 years the Jewish calendar had been based on the moon which has twelve cycles of about 29 days each, giving us 354.36 days in a year.  The Julian calendar ( named after Julious Cesar) had three years of 365 days and one 366 days ( thus the reason February has 1 extra day every four years).

To add to the confusion, Jesus’ followers didn’t have an exact date of the Resurrection.  Many of the first believers expected Jesus’ return to be soon so a single, universal date for Easter wasn’t possible.  In the year 325 a special council was brought together ( the Council of Nicea in present day Turkey) and one of the topics of discussion was the date for Easter.  The biggest problem in trying to make a decision was that one group followed the Julian calendar and the other the Jewish calendar.  After much discussion the result was that Easter shall fall on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox! The spring equinox being one of the two times a year when the sun crosses the celestial equator and the length of day and night are approximately equal.  This is why there is a 35 day span when Easter can occur ( March 22-April 25).

Another question pops up- is the actual Christian celebration of Easter derived from a Pagan festival?  After much research it was found that the Anglo-Saxon festival of ‘Eostre’ was celebrated after the Christian Easter/Passover celebration so the present day celebration of Easter was not influenced by any Germanic pagan festival.

There was also a question of the origin of the word ‘Easter’.  It was said that there was a pagan fertility goddess named ‘Eostre’.  However there is no evidence of the existence of this Anglo-Saxon goddess.

There are many stories related to Easter but the interesting point about Easter is that the Christian commemoration of the Paschal festival puts the importance on its content, rather than its title or when it occurs.  It is Christ’s conquest of sin, death, and Satan that gives us the right to wish everyone ‘Happy Easter’!

Guest Post by Kathy Lieberg, Volunteer

An Old-Time Weather Forecast

IMG_0070.JPGHave you ever heard that the weather of the latter days of Holy Week is indicative of the rest of the year?

We’re not sure of the origin, but it seems that this has origins in German folklore.  Some of the Sisters here at St. Anne’s can remember hearing about this in years past.

The explanations are actually quite involved.

If the folklore is to be believed, the weather on Holy Thursday can be used to forecast the rest of the spring, that on Good Friday predicts the summer weather, Holy Saturday’s weather is indicative of the coming fall, and Easter Sunday is a sure forecast for the following winter.

And that’s not all…

If the temperatures are above normal on one of these given mornings, then that coming period (i.e., spring, summer) will be unseasonably warm.

The first part of a day in late Holy week corresponds to the first part of the season, if these legends are to be believed.

If it is windy, cloudy, sunny, or the like, the corresponding season can be expected to be likewise.

Have you ever heard any such legends or have any more to share?  Please let us know.

Rummage Sale – Coming Up This Friday!

On Friday, April 7th

St. Anne’s Guest Home (524 17th St. N.) is sponsoring our annual Rummage Sale.

There will be many great buys, and proceeds benefit St. Anne’s.

8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

We will be having a clothing bag sale from 1-2 p.m.
We hope to see you there!

Remember, one person’s junk is another’s treasure.

Click here for our flyer.

Spring Cleaning for Your Yard

sept 28Taking residents for a walk around the block, enjoying the beautiful fresh air after the drudgery of winter can be a good experience.  However, one notices that winter has taken its toll on our grounds as well.  Debris from passersby and twigs can be seen here and there as one walks.

Along with picking up such unsightly items, we’ve gathered a list of some other things to be done to “spring clean” one’s yard.

A starting point is simply to take inventory of one’s yard and assess the situation.  You may wish to check out your equipment to make sure it is in proper working order, that tools are clean and sharp.

Also, take a peek at your woodwork. Check for damaged or rotting woodwork, such as pickets, lattices, and boards.  These can be scrubbed with a mixture of bleach, soap and water.

You may wish to mulch your soil to provide nourishment, provide moisture, and keep out weeds.  You may also want to consider pruning trees, shrubs, and dead perennials.  Spring is also a good time to divide perennials.  It’s a time to clean up around plants and remove old mulch.

As was alluded to previously, you will want to pick up debris that has gathered over the winter, including grass, leaves, and even trash that’s blown in.  Some of this can make good compost (not the trash, of course).  You don’t want to leave piles of it lying around.  Besides being an eyesore, this can be detrimental to the grass below and can also attract slugs and insects.  Before raking up your yard, you will want the grass to be dry to prevent pulling out the grass, which can more easily happen with wet, soft soil.  You’ll also want to avoid excess walking on the wet grass as this can also damage it.

You’ll probably also want to tend to your sidewalks and patios.  If you have a dog, there may be areas to which they’ve added a bit of color and unsavory texture.  Cleaning this up, in your case, then, is part of spring yard cleaning.  Other stains and spots may also be present.  A pressure washer is an option for more easily removing this.

When all this is done, with a little sunshine, your yard will be shaping up for the beautiful months ahead.

Here at St. Anne’s, we have a bit of work to do before this is a reality.


Thoughts from a Frequent Visitor

UntitledMy wife and I come to St. Anne’s two to three times a year to visit our daughter Sr. Christina Marie.  We always enjoy our visits and are happy to have met, talked with and developed relationships with many residents and staff.  We have found St. Anne’s to be much more than a facility that houses people.  We have found it to be a very nice community.

We observe many residents who have groups of friends they get to visit with daily.  We appreciate the chapel that is open to all.

One of the things I like best is that one doesn’t have to go outside in the wintertime to take advantage of all St. Anne’s offers.  Everything is a short indoor walk or elevator ride to get to.

Untitled.jpgI’ve often thought to myself that I could easily see myself one day being happy to be a resident of St. Anne’s.  The sisters run a fine place and the residents are very friendly.  The only bad thing I can say about St. Anne’s is that every time I visit I gain ten pounds.

Rick Neumann

Beware of the Ides of March?


You may know that March 15, “the ides of March,” was the day on which Julias Caesar was assassinated (in 44 BC), thus constituting the phrase: “Beware of the ides of March.”  But did you know that this day in history was also a tragic one on other accounts?

These include a raid on Southern England (1360), the Samoan Cyclone (1889), Czar Nicholas II abdicating his throne (1917), the German occupation of Czechoslovakia (1939), a world Record Rainfall (1952), and a New Global health scare (2003).  But, probably the one of most interest to us at St. Anne’s as North Dakotans is the infamous blizzard of 1941.

If you read last month’s Broadcaster (our little resident newsletter), you may recall that one of our residents, Ann Leeson still remembers that unexpected event.

The word “ides,” according to one article, comes from the Latin word meaning to divide, but also has to do with the timing of the full moon.

Hopefully, however, you aren’t superstitious, and we can hope for a good day today, despite March 15th’s sad history.  For one thing, it’s one day closer to the beginning of spring!

Information from: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/top-ten-reasons-to-beware-the-ides-of-march-8664107/

In Like a Lion!

P1010031.JPGMarch comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. But where did this common idiom originate?  No one is quite sure.

However, one theory points to the stars. The constellation at the beginning of the month is Leo (the Lion). By the end of the month, it’s Aries (ram or lamb).

This proverb can be traced back to a 1732 compilation of sayings which includes the phrase “comes in like a Lion, goes out like a Lamb.”

Another interesting aspect is the fact that lamb meat was only available in the spring, which may contribute to the fact that March is said to go out like a lamb.

The simple meaning of this phrase is that the month often comes in with bad weather, but by the time April is here, it is more clement.

This year in early March, the lion certainly has been roaring with the strong winds we’ve been having!

Info. from theparisreview.org and oklahoma4h.okstate.edu