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Easter: Changing Times

  • March 31st, 2013
  • Posted by 7thmin

winter-daffodils.jpgOPINION: Some extreme weather this Easter season is a reminder that climate itself looks to be changing.


The date of the “moving feast” of Easter has to do with the full moon and changing seasons.

If the Winter was hanging on too long in Europe you could reasonably hope to see a change on the Easter weekend with some intimations of mild, sunny times.

In the Southern Hemisphere at the same time, if the Summer was getting too much, you could look forward to some crispness in the air over the holiday weekend.

It’s true that it could always get turbulent and undecided; nothing can spoil things like intermittent snow storms, or a wet week; but uncannily the usual Easter weather is the same at both ends of the Earth, North or South – the rare time that such sameness can be felt during the calendar year.


The season is set by the first full moon after the Equinox in March, the date when the tilt of the Earth puts us in closest alignment with the Sun, and the hours of day and night are equally balanced. (Another Equinox is in September; and at other times the opposite phenomena, the Solstices bring the shortest and longest days for the year).

The March Equinox falls between late March and late April, bringing that change in seasons: in the Northern hemisphere, from  Winter to Spring; in the Southern Hemisphere, from Summer to Autumn.

As well as the alignment of the event with Christian and Jewish religious festivals, the eggs used in celebrations are often thought of as being to do with fertility and the coming European Spring.


This year, 2013, is one of those that buck the trend of sameness and a turning of the season — and not on a local scale.

bushfire-canberra.jpgIn the lead-up to this Easter, in the South of the world, Australia had some persistent Summer bushfires in its Southern regions, and persistent tired-of-it Summer rain, continuing into the weekend itself, across the North.

In the North of the world, in the lead-up, unseasonably late snow afflicted Northern and Central Europe, and also the United States.

Europe’s cold snap in mid-March saw a mantle of snow across France, Scandinavia, Eastern and Central Europe including Austria and parts of Germany, and getting into the Balkans region, as well as a wide area of the United Kingdom.

There were some deaths from snow-related incidents, with intermittent road closures, people trapped in cars and pockets of countryside cut off.

More falls this Easter long weekend, light to moderate, were being experienced, or were forecast for the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Slovakia; and Britain was counting down to its coldest recorded month of March in a half-century.

Unseasonable wild weather has been growing for a decade, fitting expectations of a human inspired, and devastating era of climate change; orthodox scientific opinion linking the trend to carbon pollution of the air.


Yet the casual holidaymaker, inconvenienced, is enjoined to give a fair go to the contrarian view; that we may not have been here to experience the flood of ’42, or a cyclical season of blizzards half a century before that; it could all be as normal as the last Ice Age; can’t do a thing about it.

Very good, and it may turn out that Pope Francis is not a Catholic; Ned Kelly may actually be dead (though you can find him most afternoons hanging around the stock markets); and poor, dead Elvis still may not have left the building.


Jim Andrews, AccuWeather, State College PA: “Easter Snow in Europe”, 30.3.13,, (31.3.13); “UK Cold March Set to Be Coldest in 50 Years”, 28.3.13,, (31.3.13).

The Gant Daily, Clearview PA: “Non-seasonal spring snow storm breaks records in US, and Europe”, 27.3.13., (31.3.13).

The Huffington Post, NY, “Europe Snow Storms Are Inconvenient, Beautiful”, 12.3.13., (31.3.13).

Krisztina Than (Reuters), NBC News, NY, “Winter storm strands thousands of motorists overnight in eastern Europe”, 15.3.13., (31.3.13).