There has been a bit of talk about having a fixed date for Easter, indeed even the Archbishop of Canterbury has joined the discussion. In law, provision has already been made; the Easter Act 1928 has been passed but not implemented.
Looked at seriously, there is no reason why the state should not fix a date for Easter. In 1978, the moveable holiday of Whitsun, (known more widely in the Church as Pentecost) was fixed as Spring Bank Holiday. This allows the country to plan and the various churches all still celebrate Pentecost on the traditional date which is seven weeks after Easter Sunday. Nobody has any problems with this.
The obvious thing to do is for the State to fix the Easter Holiday, but not to call it Easter. The Church will carry on celebrating Easter and if it eventually decides, probably after a decade or two of international discussion, on a fixed date, then the Church will continue to celebrate that. It might even coincide with the date the UK government sets but given the Church is a world wide organisation, it would only really do so by chance.
Indeed it would make a lot of sense, instead of Easter the State could fix ‘Chocfest’ on the second Sunday of April. People could give each other chocolate, cards with chickens and rabbits on them and suchlike. The Church could then celebrate Easter without the clutter and late accretions.
One thing that could be considered though is the nature of bank holidays. Because Good Friday is, by definition, a Friday, it is also a normal working day. (Unlike Sunday for many people.) So what we could do at the same time as fixing Easter is to allow everybody two bank holidays they can fix personally whenever they want. As long as they give a couple of months notice to their employer, they must be given the day off. (Failure to do so leading to a fine of a multiple of the company’s turnover.) So if you wanted you could book yourself Good Friday and Christmas Day (both of which have a habit of not falling on Sunday.) Or alternatively you could book your wedding anniversary, or your Daughter’s wedding, or the Rugby World Cup final or whatever you wanted.
While we’re fixing Easter, it does make sense to look at Christmas as well. The fact that we have Christmas and New Year a week apart, fixed by date but not by day, means each year is different to the last and it’s generally a silly situation.
So because those who want to celebrate Christmas can do so, just by spending their holiday entitlement (under the new scheme suggested), we can scrap the Christmas and Boxing Day bank holidays. They can be added to New Year’s Day. This means that whatever day New Year falls on, the two extra bank holidays can ensure that it becomes part of a really long weekend. This gives everybody a nice long winter break. Obviously it isn’t Christmas, which can still be celebrated on the appropriate day by those who want to. So we might as well give that a new name. How about Consumerfest? This would be to celebrate everybody giving everybody stuff and there being the sales in the shops and people buying on line and then and re-selling their gifts on EBay.
Again it would mean that those who wanted to celebrate Christmas could do so without a lot of commercial tat and clutter, and then could join in the commercial tat and clutter later in the month if they wanted to.