Religious holiday calendars on the Web
Although it’s the end of February, Lenten fish fries have not yet made their annual appearance in Western New York. The reason is that Lent and Easter 2011 will occur much later than they did a year ago; even later, in fact, than is typically the case in any given year. By the method that the date for Easter is calculated, this holiday may fall anytime between March 22 and April 25. This year, Easter will fall at the very end of that spectrum, on April 24.
This interesting fact begs the question: How is the date of Easter calculated each year? About.com explains the process for calculating the date of Easter, in both Western and Eastern Christianity. This year, both fall on the same date, but that is not always the case, as they use different calendars (Gregorian versus Julian, respectively) for their calculations. Timeanddate.com is another reliable source for determining these dates, and includes interesting data on the earliest and latest Easter dates from 1753 through 2400. At Easter on the Net, one may calculate when Easter will fall in any given year, including past and future dates.
Besides Easter, there are a number of religious feasts that vary each year in their date of celebration. Interfaith Calendar lists a number of sacred dates in upcoming years for different religious faiths around the world. The BBC Interfaith Calendar lists holy days for many faiths, and one may submit any specific date to see what religious celebrations happen to fall on it. Other good sites on the free Web are Calendar Zone, which lists links to a number of religious calendars, and the Infoplease calendar page that includes religious calendars, as well as other holidays and cultural celebrations.
The UB Libraries also carry traditional print books that address religious celebrations and how they are determined. “Religious Holidays and Calendars: An Encyclopedic Handbook” is housed in the fourth-floor Lockwood Library book collection, call number CE6.K45 1993. As well, “Holidays, Festivals and Celebrations of the World Dictionary: Detailing Nearly 2,500 Observances from all 50 States and More Than 100 Nations: A Compendious Reference Guide to Popular, Ethnic, Religious, National and Ancient Holidays” is located in the first-floor Silverman Library reference collection, with call number GT3925 H64 2005. Do not forget that searching for articles on this and all religious topics is available through the UB Libraries subscription to the online database Religion and Philosophy Collection, which indexes 300 full-text journals in the field.
Enjoy the rest of the year’s holidays. This year, Easter truly will usher in spring!
—Tiffany R. Walsh, Arts and Sciences Libraries